1.1 'YOU too will marry a boy I choose,' said Mrs Rupa Mehra firmly to her younger daughter.

Lata avoided the maternal imperative by looking around the great lamp-lit garden of Prem Nivas. The weddingguests were gathered on the lawn. 'Hmm,' she said. This annoyed her mother further. 'I know what your hmms mean, young lady, and I can tell you I will not stand for hmms in this matter. I do know what is best. I am doing it all for you. Do you think it is easy for me, trying to arrange things for all four of my children without His help ?' Her nose began to redden at the thought of her husband, who would, she felt certain, be partaking of their present joy from somewhere benevolently above. Mrs Rupa Mehra believed, of course, in reincarnation, but at moments of exceptional sentiment, she imagined that the late Raghubir Mehra still inhabited the form in which she had known him when he was alive : the robust, cheerful form of his early forties before overwork had brought about his heart attack at the height of the Second World War. Eight
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years ago, eight years, thought Mrs Rupa Mehra miserably. 'Now, now, Ma, you can't cry on Savita's wedding day,' said Lata, putting her arm gently but not very concernedly around her mother's shoulder. 'If He had been here, I could have worn the tissue-patola sari I wore for my own wedding,' sighed Mrs Rupa Mehra. 'But it is too rich for a widow to wear.' 'Ma!' said Lata, a little exasperated at the emotional capital her mother insisted on making out of every possible circumstance. 'People are looking at you. They want to congratulate you, and they'll think it very odd if they see you crying in this way.' Several guests were indeed doing namast?to Mrs Rupa Mehra and smiling at her ; the cream of Brahmpur society, she was pleased to note. 'Let them see me!' said Mrs Rupa Mehra defiantly, dabbing at her eyes hastily with a handkerchief perfumed with 4711 eau-de-Cologne, 'They will only think it is because of my happiness at Savita's wedding. Everything I do is for you, and no one appreciates me. I have chosen such a good boy for Savita, and all everyone does is complain.' Lata reflected that of the four brothers and sisters, the only one who hadn't complained of the match had been the sweet-tempered, fair-complexioned, beautiful Savita herself. 'He is a little thin, Ma,' said Lata a bit thoughtlessly. This was putting it mildly. Pran Kapoor, soon to be her brother-in-law, was lank, dark, gangly, and asthmatic. 'Thin ? What is thin ? Everyone is trying to become thin these days. Even I have had to fast the whole day and it is not good for my diabetes. And if Savita is not complaining, everyone should be happy with him. Arun and Varun are always complaining: why didn't they choose a boy for their sister then ? Pran is a good, decent, cultured khatri boy.' There was no denying that Pran, at thirty, was a good boy, a decent boy, and belonged to the right caste. And, indeed, Lata did like Pran. Oddly enough, she knew him better than her sister did - or, at least, had seen him for longer than her sister had. Lata was studying English at Brahmpur University, and Pran Kapoor was a popular lecturer there. Lata had attended his class on the Elizabethans, while Savita, the bride, had met him for only an hour, and that too in her mother's company.
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'And Savita will fatten him up,' added Mrs Rupa Mehra. 'Why are you trying to annoy me when I am so happy? And Pran and Savita will be happy, you will see. They will be happy,' she continued emphatically. 'Thank you, thank you,' she now beamed at those who were coming up to greet her. 'It is so wonderful - the boy of my dreams, and such a good family. The Minister Sahib has been very kind to us. And Savita is so happy. Please eat something, please eat: they have made such delicious gulab-jamuns, but owing to my diabetes I cannot eat them even after the ceremonies. I am not even allowed gajak, which is so difficult to resist in winter. But please eat, please eat. I must go in to check what is happening: the time that the pandits have given is coming up, and there is no sign of either bride or groom!' She looked at Lata, frowning. Her younger daughter was going to prove more difficult than her elder, she decided. 'Don't forget what I told you,' she said in an admonitory voice. 'Hmm,' said Lata. 'Ma, your handkerchief's sticking out of your blouse.' 'Oh!' said Mrs Rupa Mehra, worriedly tucking it in. 'And tell Arun to please take his duties seriously. He is just standing there in a corner talking to that Meenakshi and his silly friend from Calcutta. He should see that everyone is drinking and eating properly and having a gala time.' 'That Meenakshi' was Arun's glamorous wife and her own disrespectful daughterin-law. In four years of marriage Meenakshi's only worthwhile act, in Mrs Rupa Mehra's eyes, had been to give birth to her beloved granddaughter, Aparna, who even now had found her way to her grandmother's brown silk sari and was tugging it for attention. Mrs Rupa Mehra was delighted. She gave her a kiss and told her : 'Aparna, you must stay with your Mummy or with Lata Bua, otherwise you will get lost. And then where would we be?' 'Can't I come with you ?' asked Aparna, who, at three, naturally had views and preferences of her own. 'Sweetheart, I wish you could,' said Mrs Rupa Mehra, 'but I have to make sure that your Savita Bua is ready to be married. She is so late already.' And Mrs Rupa Mehra looked once again at the little gold watch that had been her husband's first gift to her and which had not missed a beat for two-and-a-half decades. 'I want to see Savita Bua!' said Aparna, holding her ground. Mrs Rupa Mehra looked a little harassed and nodded vaguely at Aparna.
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Lata picked Aparna up. 'When Savita Bua comes out, we'll go over there together, shall we, and I'll hold you up like this, and we'll both get a good view. Meanwhile, should we go and see if we can get some ice-cream ? iff 腴 l like some too.' Aparna approved of this, as of most of Lata's suggestions. It was never too cold for ice-cream. They walked towards the buffet table together, three-yearold and nineteen-year-old hand in hand. A few rose-petals wafted down on them from somewhere. 'What is good enough for your sister is good enough for you,' said Mrs Rupa Mehra to Lata as a parting shot. 'We can't both marry Pran,' said Lata, laughing. 1.2 THE other chief host of the wedding was the groom's father, Mr Mahesh Kapoor, who was the Minister of Revenue of the state of Purva Pradesh. It was in fact in his large, C-shaped, cream-coloured, two-storey family house, Prem Nivas, situated in the quietest, greenest residential area of the ancient, and - for the most part - over-populated city of Brahmpur, that the wedding was taking place. This was so unusual that the whole of Brahmpur had been buzzing about it for days. Mrs Rupa Mehra's father, who was supposed to be the host, had taken sudden umbrage a fortnight before the wedding, had locked up his house, and had disappeared. Mrs Rupa Mehra had been distraught. The Minister Sahib had stepped in ('Your honour is our honour'), and had insisted on putting on the wedding himself. As for the ensuing gossip, he ignored it. There was no question of Mrs Rupa Mehra helping to pay for the wedding. The Minister Sahib would not hear of it. Nor had he at any time asked for any dowry. He was an old friend and bridge partner of Mrs Rupa Mehra's father and he had liked what he had seen of her daughter Savita (though he could never remember the girl's name). He was sympathetic to economic hardship, for he too had tasted it. During the several years he had spent in British 6 jails during the struggle for Independence, there had been no one to run his farm or his cloth business. As a result very little income had come in, and his wife and family had struggled along with great difficulty. Those unhappy times, however, were only a memory for the able, impatient, and
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powerful Minister. It was the early winter of 1950, and India had been free for over three years. But freedom for the country did not mean freedom for his younger son, Maan, who even now was being told by his father : 'What is good enough for your brother is good enough for you.' 'Yes, Baoji,' said Maan, smiling. Mr Mahesh Kapoor frowned. His younger son, while succeeding to his own habit of fine dress, had not succeeded to his obsession with hard work. Nor did he appear to have any ambition to speak of. 'It is no use being a good-looking young wastrel forever,' said his father. 'And marriage will force you to settle down and take things seriously. I have written to the Banaras people, and I expect a favourable answer any day.' Marriage was the last thing on Maan's mind; he had caught a friend's eye in the crowd and was waving at him. Hundreds of small coloured lights strung through the hedge came on all at once, and the silk saris and jewellery of the women glimmered and glinted even more brightly. The high, reedy shehnai music burst into a pattern of speed and brilliance. Maan was entranced. He noticed Lata making her way through the guests. Quite an attractive girl, Savita's sister, he thought. Not very tall and not very fair, but attractive, with an oval face, a shy light in her dark eyes and an affectionate manner towards the child she was leading by the hand. 'Yes, Baoji,' said Maan obediently. 'What did I say ?' demanded his father. 'About marriage, Baoji,' said Maan. 'What about marriage ?' Maan was nonplussed. 'Don't you listen ?' demanded Mahesh Kapoor, wanting 7 to twist Maan's ear. 'You are as bad as the clerks in the Revenue Department. You were not paying attention, you were waving at Firoz.' C V Maan looked a little shamefaced. He knew what his father thought of him. But he had been enjoying himself until a couple of minutes ago, and it was just like Baoji to come and puncture his light spirits.
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the very last Englishman to remain on the bench of the Brahmpur High Court after Independence .en8848.' prompted Maan. offspring of his rural relatives. . | Go ! Do some good. He narrowly avoided being butted in the stomach and knocked over by three children. who smiled weakly back. yes. Your superstitious mother will start panicking if they miss the correct configuration of the stars. a professor of literature (who could be useful for Pran's career two influential members of the state legislature from the Congress Party (who might well agree to back him in his perennial power-struggle with the Home Minister) . one of the largest landowners in the state. what's her name? It's getting late.or even during it .' 'No. we have chosen well for Pran. 'Savita.' said his father impatiently. His father paused to smile brusquely at a few wellwishers.com. and you are not to complain about our choice of a bride for you. And don't get that weak-*?willed woman. They were supposed to come out from opposite j ends of the house and meet here for the jaymala five i minutes ago. 'I don't want to have to waste any more time with you today.for refreshment. your mother. He was wondering how to repair the puncture. He had a bottle of Scotch upstairs in his room.' Maan said nothing. 'Yes.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . to change her mind and come telling me that you aren't yet ready to take on the responsibilities of a man. God knows I have enough to do as it is.'So that's all fixed up.' said Maan.' continued his father. a judge. who were careering joyfully around the garden as if it were a field of stubble. and his old friend the Nawab Sahib of Baitar. And Mahesh Kapoor went back to his own duties as a host. He frowned impatiently at one of the officiating priests. What ha happened to Pran and that girl. j 'We chose well for Veena. 'Don't tell me later that I didn't warn you.' f 'Savita. and perhaps he and Firoz could escape for a few minutes before the ceremony . getting the drift of things and I looking a trifle glum. And he greeted. Baoji.3 第 6 页 共 293 页 http://www. Go and calm her down. before he had walked ten steps. then turned to Maan again. 1.

'Smiling. but when Maan asked her why she shook her head.' 'Yes. Let him do the smiling for both of us.' said Lata. 'A few minutes more. her eyes resting on his face for just a second. perhaps sensing her awkwardness. 'Well. His eyes followed her pink sari for a few seconds. His good-na 鐃 red face melted into an expression of exaggerated perplexity. Lata began smiling again. Aparna tugged at her hand. are you ?' 'I'm not laughing at all.in a way. His conversation with his father had been in Hindi. not at you. Pink's the wrong colour for her complexion.' 'That's very mysterious.' she said simply. and the ceremonies will start. 'It'll have to remain so. Good-looking ' girl . Lata was struck shy. as she sometimes was with strangers. hers with her mother in English. I meant. 'Well. now.en8848.com.' said Maan to her in English. 'you're not laughing at me. almost laughing now. and I must supply it. She should be dressed in deep green or dark blue ?like that woman there. His attention veered to a new object of contemplation.' 'Try the pistachio ice-cream. looking up at him again more confidently. 'My mother's concerned that they won't start on time.' said Maan. 'At myself. flicking a rose-petal off his beautiful tight white achkan. Maan spoke both well. though.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . She paused and frowned.' suggested Maan.LATA. especially those who smiled as boldly as Maan. she thought. 'Yes. he thought again. we're almost family.' said Lata. 'Aparna here wants her ice-cream.' said Lata. 'I see you're enjoying yourself.' said Maan.' 'No. who had heard a part of Maan's conversation with his father.' 'So is my father.' said Maan.' agreed Lata. 第 7 页 共 293 页 http://www.' said Maan. could not help smiling to herself as she walked past. I'm afraid.

' Malati considered this. he's Fran's younger brother. well. 'Who was that Cad you were talking to ?' she asked Lata eagerly. in a circle of very supportive women. who had been brought up. and nothing special. you know.' continued Lata. Beauty and the Beast.en8848. 'Bitter but sustaining.' she continued.' said Lata. a medical student who shared her room at the student hostel.com. I'm not all that fair either. and will therefore find it impossible to get a suitable husband. 'And I like him. Promise me you will.' 'Really! But he's so good-looking and Fran's so. blinking into her lovely green eyes. in the slang of Brahmpur University girls. dark. Strangers. laughing. Fran's very popular as a lecturer. 'as my aunts have reminded me five times in the last hour. 'Oh. Once they see the bride and groom together. Lata ?' asked Malati. 'And. Malati was very outgoing and never lost her tongue with strangers. And since he'll be my brother-in-law you'll have to like him too. they'll have an even better time. I like most of them.' 'Don't be mean. but.' suggested Lata. The term derived from Cadbury's chocolate. This wasn't as bad as it sounded.' said Lata. 'Anyway. he's looked rather beast-like whenever I've seen him on the university campus.' 第 8 页 共 293 页 http://www.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . And you're going to have to visit me at his house once I leave the hostel and start living there. 'Like a dark giraffe. however. not ugly.' 'Maybe he's a dark Cad. sometimes lost their tongues with her. 'And if it wasn't for this sort of speculation it wouldn't be much of a wedding ? I 10 for them. fatherless and brotherless.A few seconds later Lata bumped into her best friend.' 'How can you put up with them.' said Malati. that's just Maan. 'Oh. was a Cad. Malati.' 'Well. A good-looking young man.

but before she and Aparna could get much further. 'Isn't she precious. I'll know how much value to put on your friendship. who had reached the end of her patience. 'And then I found her. Luts. with such withering charm that the young fellow glided away for a while and pretended to stare at the stars.' 'He's doing nothing of the sort. kuchuk. they were captured by Aparna's parents. Aparna. Aparna was looking at her in a severe and uncompromising manner. 'And besides. and then Lata Bua took me to have ice-cream. I don't see why you should obey your mother. ii 'So there you are.' 1. 'It lacks a certain . 'Come. 'Can I have a pistachio ice-cream. ?} 'That pink doesn't really suit you. 'Say hello to Malati Aunty. 'Who's this?' she asked.' 'I always obey my mother. but I couldn't go with her.' 'Hello.' said Malati firmly. you precious little runaway.' said Lata.' said Meenakshi. let's all go together and get some.' said Aparna. 第 9 页 共 293 页 http://www. Arun? Now where ha|?you been.4 LATA soon lost Malati to a clutch of college friends. I refuse to lose you.' Malati looked unhappy for a second or two. Aparna. You really must visit us .com. implanting a kiss on her daughter's forehead. but she had to go into the house because of Savita Bua.'I won't. 'He's taking you away from me.en8848.a certain -' 'Je ne sais quoi ?' prompted a suave friend of her husband's. but we couldn't because -' But Meenakshi had lost interest and had turned to Lata.' said Meenakshi. 'My mother.you must keep visiting us. 'My niece. is dumping me on him.' said the resplendent Meenakshi. Tell her you can't bear to be parted from me. who will pay my hostel fees if she doesn't ? And it will be very nice for me to live with Savita for a while. If you don't.' said Lata. with her fine sense of household economy.' 'Well. I'm sorry. 'Thank you.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 .' began Aparna. who was standing nearby. please?' 'Yes. then recovered. Malati.' said Lata.' said Lata. of course. you precious truant ?' 'I went to find Daadi.

who had noticed Maan's eyes casually following Lata before he had turned them elsewhere. and he lived with Arun and Meenakshi in their small ground-floor flat.'No. in loco parentis to them. Luts. and of Mahesh Kapoor's contingent of rustic relatives excited his finely-tuned disdain. 'A bit of a bounder. fair.or clan. Fran's brother. He was fond of reminding them that after their father's death. looking at the coloured lights in the hedge. 'Who was that fellow you were talking to?' demanded her brother Arun. Arun and Meenakshi had arrived just this morning by overnight train from Calcutta.en8848. Typical of their type to overdo everything. He had had neither the . He was thin.' said Lata. intelli. with a green choli that exposed more of her midriff than Brahmpur society was normally privileged or prepared to see. Though he was a year 第 10 页 共 293 页 http://www. sweet-natured and shiftyeyed. and imagined she looked rather drab standing next to this bird-ofparadise. She knew she f didn't have much dress sense. Imperial Tobacco. Arun was twenty-five.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . and he was Lata's favourite.mathematics at Calcutta University. where Arun worked as one of the few Indian executives in the prestigious and largely white firm of Bentsen & Pryce.' 'Ah. who was a nervous shadow to Arun and Meenakshi. He cast his eyes balefully around.com.f gent. had noticed Lata | talking to Maan. i 'Oh. as he called it . and her meek brother Varun. smiled too in a kind of stifled complicity. pleasant-looking bully who kept his siblings in place by pummelling their egos. unsure of himself. Lata smiled. 'That was Maan. suddenly self-conscious. pink's just not right for you.' said Arun. who. stretching her long. The crassness of the state politicians. She herself was wearing a green-and-gold sari of Banaras silk. he was 'in a manner of speaking'. And the fact that neither the brigadier from the Brahmpur Cantonment nor the Brahmpur representatives of companies like Burmah Shell. tawny neck like a relaxed cat and appraising her sister-in-law. white-capped and effusive. Varun was studying . I'd say.' re-affirmed Meenakshi. and Caltex were represented in the crowd of invitees blinded his eyes to the presence of the larger part of the professional elite of Brahmpur. unlike his wife. a tall. I time nor the desire to acquaint himself with the Kapoor family . he thought.with whom his mother had contrived a match for his sister.or trying to study .' The word spoke volumes of disapproval.

Precious.' he continued.' 'An Aunty we met called him a Cad. interested. 'How fearfully dowdy!' said Meenakshi wearily to herself. 'I'm enjoying it here. His judgment was being challenged by his subordinate.' But Maan was now nowhere to be seen. in different ways. of both Arun and Meenakshi. seeing Lata look hurt. Varun was terrified.en8848. 第 11 页 共 293 页 http://www. putting the boot in. precious ?' said Meenakshi.' said Arun in a voice which implied nothing of the sort. there was hardly an English face in this whole provincial crowd. she just turns on the waterworks.' contributed Aparna. then looked down. though it was clearly no metropolis. Aloud she said: 'He seemed quite nice.' snapped Arun brutally. encapsulating her husband's thoughts. And what would you know about bounding. Varun struggled with himself. so did his elder brother's ire. In winter. 'And how utterly unlike Calcutta. 'Don't talk about what you don't understand. he glared. But once Ma got it into her head that this Kapoor chap was suitable. Arun Bhai ? thought Lata to herself. and in some ways even of the precocious Aparna.' Varun ventured. He knew that she liked Brahmpur. Varun glowered silently. It's impossible to talk reason with Ma .older than her. 'Do point him out to me.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . His enjoyment of mathematics was mainly limited to the calculation of odds and handicaps on the racing form. 'You be quiet. half looking around to tell an imaginary ayah to wipe it off with a handkerchief. Arun was fond of calling him a bounder as well. ! 'I blame myself to some extent. 'I really shoul^揾 ave done something. you have smut on your nose.' she added to Aparna.' added Arun. I might have prevented this whole fiasco.' * *' t What had also helped deflect Arun's suspicions had been the fact that Dr Pran Kapoor taught English. she felt protective of him. Arun was not capable of blaming himself for anything. 'If I hadn't been so tied up with work.com. to Arun's chagrin. and he would have none of it. And yet. 'Did she. Arun. as Varun's excitement rose with the racing season. it was impossible to dissuade her.

She could not understand either the pleasure or the purpose of it.' said Varun. sometimes bothered him with their endless. 'I suppose it's too late.'Did you hear me ?' 'Yes. But she felt very bad for him. This pulverization was standard fare for Varun. And even if the big happy family.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . We're all one big happy family now.with pomegranate juice in lieu of alcohol ! 'What precisely do you mean by that ?' demanded Arun of Lata.en8848. 'Yes.such assaults upon his spirit. and whether or not Mrs Rupa Mehra had been delighted at the thought of her first-born. Whether or not Mr Justice Chatterji of the Calcutta High Court and his wife were happy to welcome the non-Bengali Arun as the first appendage to their ring of five children (plus Cuddles the dog). however. and indignant with Arun.at least ! I internally . Even if I'm not very good at withstanding them myself. fallen in torrid.' she said innocently. to the shock of both families. It was a far cry from this provincial capital. the apple of her eye. he accepted it precisely because it appeared to him to be undeniably urbane. unchokable wit and improvised rhyming couplets. 'One big happy family' was an ironically used Chatterji phrase. what ?' 'Yes. was not innocent. and we'll have to put up with each other as well as we can. Lata thought. and Lata was not surprised by the exchange.' The phrase. this Kapoor crowd and these garish light-in-the-hedge celebrations .j ding as possible to try to help him withstand . especially Meenakshi's brothers and sisters.com. She decided she would speak to Varun as soon after the wed. Meenakshi Mehra had been a Chatterji before she and Arun had met at a cocktail party. and got married within a month. marrying outside the khatri caste (and to a spoilt supersophisticate like Meenakshi at that). The Chatterjis had wealth and position and a grand Calcutta house where they threw enormous (but tasteful) parties. Arun Bhai. 'Well. Arun Bhai.' muttered Varun. rapturous and elegant love. 'Do you think that if Daddy had been alive we would have married into this sort of a family ?' 第 12 页 共 293 页 http://www. Arun certainly valued the Chatterji connection greatly.

' Aparna. had overcome their circumstances and done well in the way of in-laws. was studying law at Lincoln's Inn.and her attachment to the seem-. who threatened to scream if she didn't get her ice-cream.who ran. who knew it wouldn't. a published poet ? I Arun's speculations were brought down to earth by his ' daughter. but if Daddy had been alive. thought Arun. lately. his dark. a cloth shop in Banaras. She would not hjve haJ to sell most of her jewellery and even their small house in Darjeeling to give her children the schooling which she felt that. in addition.Arun hardly seemed to care that they might be overheard. f And. of all things.' she said to i Aparna.com. 第 13 页 共 293 页 http://www. lifted into her Lata Bua's arms. And so Arun and Varun had' continued to go to St George's School. rather | nervous face veiled with hanging strings of white flowers. The Kapoors might be all very well for Brahmpur society. they must have. The family would not have had to struggle. a constellation of brilliant matches would have been strewn at the feet of the Mehras. who had been to Oxford. on Mrs Rupa Mehra's depleted savings.and.lay a sense of sacrifice and a sense or* values that determinedly melted them down into the insecure. . say. they sometimes screamed at each other. It won't work with me. the kindness of friends and. that ogling fellow whom Lata had just been talking to . 'It's my fault. and often at the servants. dressed all in white. above everything else.en8848. everyone crowded forward towards the door from which the bride would emerge. Lata looked guilty. her elder son's salary. and was. he would . But the brutal j jint was well made. Had Raghubir Mehra not died in his forties but continued his meteoric rise in the Railway Service. and Aparna. after all. ingly secure physical objects that reminded her of her beloved husband . His excellence and experience might even have made him the Chairman. and Savita and Lata had not been withdrawn from St Sophia's Convent. I as it had had to for years and was still forced to. She knew from experience that screaming (or L even the threat of it) worked wonders with her parents. At least he. for one. Beneath her pervasive sentimentality . But just at that moment the bridegroom emerged from one side of the house. But you mustn't cry or yell. Lata flushed. Meenakshi's elder brother. from what Arun had heard . promise me that. intangible benefits of an excellent English-medium.when the British left Indian government service in droves in 1947 . 'Let's go at once before we get caught up in something else. darling.certainly have become a member of the Railway Board. was silent. boarding-school education.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . What possible comparison could there be between Pran's brother. was forced to defer once again both treat and threat.

He was now placing a garland of dark red. that Pran hadn't ridden up to the gate on a white horse with a little nephew sitting in front of him and with the groom's party in tow to claim his bride.1. however.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . Arun was annoyed that he had not been allowed to take charge of anything. Lata thought she might even have been crying. stood close by and watched with an Paid no great attention to f. But it was too late for th 癡 C j weddmg to Calcuttavo'ces rose to the skies and Quite drowned out the irrelevant it. The welcoming ceremony completed. one very fat and one fairly thin. that she should look full in the face of the man with whom she was to live her life. Here the priests. were locked in mildly 第 14 页 共 293 页 http://www. where a small platform. decorated with more white flowers and open to the auspicious stars. And no doubt if he had followed the convention. Lata found it difficult to imagine the lecturer on Elizabethan Drama under that veil of tuberoses. It was not proper. and Mrs Rupa Mehra and the parents of the groom sat around the small fire that would be the witness of their vows. whom the family very rarely met. He had suggested to his mother after the crisis brought on by his grandfather's inexplicable It. had earlier in the day taken charge of he bangle ceremony. Now that the exchange f t** Lata.en8848.at' and she would not hear ochant of the ceremonies. and quite subdued. had been erected. but then Prem Nivas was the groom's house after all. even when she was putting the garland round his neck. Arun would have found further cause for mockery. Lata couldn't help thinking.com.5 IT was a little untraditional. The two barewould go on for the better C aCf wedding rites. Thes chested priests. heavily fragrant roses around her sister Savita's neck and Savita was doing the same to him. She looked lovely in her red-and-gold wedding sari. Her head was covered. As it was. ands was 皏 er. bride and groom moved together to the middle of the garden. one from each family. Mrs Rupa Mehra's brother. both milled and chattered round h?1 ^ ^癠 r Wm*e the guest! apparently immune to the cold. the crowoattentive mixture of fascination and dismay. and she looked down at the ground as her mother had doubtless instructed her to do.

he was about Photographer as he murmured?s7 A ' ^ Smiled for *?l?W 癢 hi?rathef sh 皉 t fuse? they breathed deeply the see f fl P ase! in English.own exhaustedly on certainly a contrast to her own erratic swings of mood. Thei insistent competition as to who knew a more elaborate heads . the 搇 ied clay stoves placed str * em!. the evenness was chairs with their plates full *A** . they warmed' ^ S' the men herertitt m order to keeP the auspicious time in abeyance. Even the groom's parents while their frosted.Sanskrit wound interminably on.en8848. Servants.man? Kind-hearted and accommodating though she was.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . at the back of the garden b 攇 ^coloured cloth canopy she did have views of her own. the^* . while the stars stayed their courses women there.com. Savita was free from any vanity about her fresh and lovely around fruit juice and tea a 揹 T' ff 揯 '?knaki' Bought looks . even temper. but didn't she rebel against the fact that Pran would 第 15 页 共 293 页 http://www. they coalesced into 1 揑 皉 tnem to their fore. Lata loved her deeply and rood had been laid out. How cooked spices.^orm 癪 the seryiceSo. they admired the multicol ^n brth rose into the air' Mahesh Kapoor's eyebrows were quivering.wmc^ 'ong tables of admired her generous. es at the charcoal. gossip-lad ^'h* around the garden were asked ^ the fat Priest to rePeat something after him.laughed. they shook hand C fwj 飐 o^^rem Nivas. some in white liv ^ tU in inexhaustibly. they exchanged 癶' L Wers and Perfume and cou^ sne nave agreed to get married without knowing this tics and scandal under the h' ?i $ ^ deatns and poli. Lata tried to imagine what Savita was thinking.

which was the capital of the state of Purva Pradesh. none of then stupid. 'Prem Nivas' for a start: the abode of love. the kast trite to Lata. or sometimes even to guess what she was thinking. indeed resentment of. Samosas kachauris. It was too much. And yet. it was Malati rather than months fell upon each Qther na^ n 皌 met each other for her sister who had become her confidante. it VitVp 赅 rier control her irritation at. accept that Mother knew best ? It was difficult to speak to consumed and replenished al ?ga?a. . p-nl'ik . _ garden: samosac !.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . in the middle of this fragrant garden. Pran. she met only at weddings and fu ?l C 攅 s' relatives who knew' would never have agreed to be married off in this exchanged the latest news nf?j embraced tearfully and summary manner by all the mothers in the world Lata'?搑 ougiit 暙晹?^m ?? 摃-攏 v i. ha mind wandering from one thing to another. which lay in the centre of the Gangetic plains.i a&amoi u? i^?i. sitting around a fire intoning a dead language thai only three of them understood. was absurd : seven living people.v-wi.f and ice-cream were Savita. Lata thought. perhaps this little fire was indeed the centre of the universe.com. And a needlessly grandiloquent one: as if i were the centre of the universe and felt obliged to make i philosophical statement about it. Lata forgot that she had been defending Pran to Mala( just a short while ago. and began to discover things t( irritate herself with. thought Lata crossly. The thought did not seem in.剟! ?ir he was returning her affectionate look. objectively. itself in the heart of Pasand Bagh. gulab-jamuns.en8848. | 第 16 页 共 293 页 http://www. 癴 vegetables. And Malati. mat i i^ii wuuiu who were standing in the A sn^ks to those fail the most lenient test of glamour ? Did Savita really laddus. which was itself the heartland of India ?and so on through the galaxies to the outer limits of perception and knowledge. the pleasantest locality of Brahmpur. barfis and .who were standing in the H ^ snacks to those fail the most lenient test of glamour ? Did Savita really Jaddus. looked a. Friends who h 癏 PU 揝 and Slx kinds Since Lata had Sone to college. for this house of arrange! marriages. For here il burned. And the scene. An idioti^ name.

we would never have got married. who became even more tongue-tied as a result. who felt obliged to lapse into an irked silence. She could not have 'that sort of person' singing love-lyrics at the wedding of her daughter.' Mahesh Kapoor had turned impatiently towards his dumpy little wife. 'Yes. They'll douse the flames. go on. 第 17 页 共 293 页 http://www. as was the tradition whenever anyone in his family got married. though she was not even paying for the wedding. as if [ ? blessing Mahesh Kapoor. even though she knew it would sour things for me.'Speak up ! Speak up ! If your mother had mumbled like you. and quickly rose again in Lata's estimation. Mahesh Kapoor frowned. the Home Minister. Really! thought Mahesh Kapoor. 'That sort of person' meant both a Muslim and a courtesan. Sharma. Mahesh Kapoor muffed his responses. But now Savita was being given away by her mother with a handful of rosepetals. And in my garden ! His other major irritation was directed at Mrs Rupa Mehra. yes.S. but held his peace for a few minutes. after which he burst out. My stupid wife insisted on inviting Agarwal because our daughters are friends.' said Mahesh Kapoor. deep in conversation with the large and venerable Chief Minister S. He looked in exasperation at the main culprit. Mahesh Kapoor. and the priest repeated them gently. one of which was the distinct and unwelcome sight of his arch political rival. once he had taken over the arrangements. He was irritated for several reasons. whose sobs were the most obstreperous. But Mrs Rupa Mehra. Pran turned and smiled encouragingly at his mother. He glowered at the fire. What could they be plotting? he thought. go on. And now the Chief Minister is talking to him as if no one else exists. and all three women were in tears. had put her foot down. this time to the family priest : 'Is this mumbo-jumbo going to go on for ever ?' j The priest said something soothing in Sanskrit. had set his heart on inviting a beautiful and renowned singer of ghazals to perform at Prem Nivas.com.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 .en8848.

Then she thought downwards one generation to her beloved Savita who would soon be walking around this fire with Pran to begin her own married life. and arrowroot biscuits. her eyelashes wet with tears . May she wear this very sari to her owi daughter's wedding. She was thinking back to her own wedding. as ht claimed. May it be a longer one than mine. I have plenty of reasons to cry.en8848. Apart fron repudiating his duties as a host. After a few concluding words by the priests. lemon i squash. The scent of 4711 eau-deCologne brought back unbearably happy memories of her late husband. and had gone furi ously off to Delhi 'for a conference of cardiologists'.com. he was enormously fond of food. and congratulations fell on them and their parents and all the Mehras and Kapoors present as copiously as those 第 18 页 共 293 页 http://www.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 .w minutes more. he had chosen not even tr?attend his granddaughter's wedding. f I don't care who stares at me. \ She also thought upwards a generation to he^fathei and this brought on a fresh gush of tears. but quite possibly b] his own daughter. no one knew: probably something said o done by his friend Mahesh Kapoor. weak tea. no one could tell for sure. But her heartbreak lasted| only a few minutes more. f It was also possible. rough-leafed harsingar tree in I white and orange bloom . The groom and bride walked around the fire seven times. Short and trim though hel had always been. said Mrs Rupa Mehra to herself defiantly. but1 owing to a digestive disorder combined with diabetes his diet was now confined to boiled eggs. Her eyes were red and her nose and cheeks were flushed with weeping. The newly-weds were escorted to a flower-shrouded I bench near a sweet-smelling. He had taken with him the insufferable Parvati. that Dr Kishen Chand Seth would have gone mad at the wedding had he attended it. everyone ( rose.But Mrs Rupa Mehra was not even bothering to tuck her handkerchief back into her blouse. prayed Mrs I Rupa Mehra. I am so( happy and heartbroken today. The groom an^ '-:Jarnim^l 珪!-?c f 玭 oititK lasted ?~ *v. who was ten yearsl younger than Mrs Rupa Mehra herself. and Pran and she were man and wife. his thirty-five-year-old second wife. though this did not cross his daughter's mind. What th septuagenarian radiologist Dr Kishen Chand Seth ha?taJcen offence at. Savita keeping her head meekly down. and had in fact fled from that specific eventuality.

Sharmaji was rather a hulking man with a perceptible limp and an unconscious and slight vibration of the head. she would find out soon enough what the happy tears of matrimony were all about ! Fran's much-shouted-at mother. She gobbled the congratulations down like forbidden gulab-jamuns. 1. Veena embraced her. Priya. charisma and benevolence. which was exacerbated when. the gardenias were creamy and fragrant. prolific blossoming of the harsingar tree. Delhi was far away and rarely interested in his legislative and administrative fief. fro a ^ Kapoor smiled. who was married and virtually immured by her in-laws in a house in the old. Or was she laughing at her sister? Well. and though 5o you're cultivating a rural P 皁 r: he had not lived to see the birth of Pakistan. after blessing her son and daughter-in-law. that the garden looked beautiful. And though she could take no credit for the sudden. in mythical times. Ever ' ^ne ta^' grey-hearded Nawab Sahib. Mrs Mahesh Kapoor.com. and failing to see her younger son Maan anywhere. Mrs Rupa Mehra's joy was unconfined. but sobbed and smiled simultaneously. Z3 s 'g tly nasal voice to Mahesh if?Rudnia he said in hbeen an active member of the Muslim League . subdued yet happy. rather wistfully. said. Though he was uncommunicative about his discussion with his Home Minister. he was nevertheless in good spirits.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . temporarily overcome. that was surely the grace of the gods whose prized and contested possession.was what he had dedicated his life to. thought Mrs Mahesh Kapoor with quiet pride : the garden was indeed looking beautiful. cramped part of Brahmpur. as now. Shri S.S. he had had a long day. Sharma. that above all Ma 癶 nS h c 皀 stituency for tlte^omil. had gone over to her daughter Veena. it used to be. He ran the state with a mixture of guile. And it was true. and a few chrysanthemums and roses were already in bloom. and in return for their congratulations. The dreaded Home Minister and his daughter Priya joined them for a few minutes. Mrs Mahesh Kapoor had a few kind words to say to each of them.6 HER lord and master the Minister of Revenue was meanwhile accepting congratulations from the Chief Minister of Purva Pradesh. She looked a little speculatively at her younger daughter. noticing four eyes 第 19 页 共 293 页 http://www. who appeared to be laughing at her from a distance.en8848. said nothing.delicate flowers fall to the ground at dawn. The grass was rich.

_?Vs .cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . have Kapoor.5' After a while he said : 'So Pran _. 櫕 t...but I haven't seen my son either. after walking slowly rural constituen no cy.r^ ir..^ L-ujnandy embroidered ^ juus with their up-turned toes would present an 第 20 页 共 293 页 http://www.v _ ge and IWprodiirr. nis Sectoral home and Y glnable that he Wouij 'No.? Pyjamas. . onlliantlv emr. -.?l~ jVT*'r 5^-^j5=猾 2-^ z and Imtiaz anywhere. T 癠 havent seen Firoz and Imtiaz anywhere. no .. .r^. The Nawab Sahib ralsed his hands slightly.^irrty-Desnire hi... and rh k n Was Wearing the war-' m a gesture of helplessness.r^ 玣 l.en8848. . l their 剟 .grak same urban constitue ^揯 I537 ^e nad stooion nim' gravely raised his cupped hand to his forehead in M %pu? ~ a constituency i-ha/擽 i? ^e neart of CH Ponte salutation.com. By way of ^ *?COntest from assume?' Lh?^! t. m 揳 nd his knowledge of n.By way Of 'Ose to . so I rural constituency. then tilted his head sideways with a quiet farm and f?^ 癴 the s^e trade^^ mUch of W smile' as if to congratulate his old friend. have mover ings ir ?擽 Knowledge of rural ?Clty-uespite hi You naven't seen Mr ^^toabo^^f^-^wa..the^you? he asked Mahesh In the stafP _ ..?.籭^i 籩 o^ *?h* . palms for 揼 nt otf-white m. acnkan he was ??.he nandsome black LlT^T' he indicated hi.

' said Sharmaji slowly.com.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . Ai srrnlr. 'After your Zamindari Abolition R-?you will berr.'Of rather sadly about his wife' buried these many year j^j L wo in the process ' he 'Inshallah. who was s see' let's see?said the Nawab Sahib. Oh GodF O?behalf 癴 tw?People^And?*8 ** Shut 揚' b 皌 h 癴 y 癠?Sa'd F'r 癦' attemPting to aPPear 'What .v e ' 1ater ft more annoyed than he was .' 'Well. If you determined tone. nothing is impossible in politics.~ . all of them will settle down soon enough.incongruous picture in a rice field. i 皀 the Nawab Sak'k6 鞍 ke~ around. tractable or not.en8848. 'Maan has met the father.' ^15^r 摋:s:r/?i ^f^*S^^ 'if my father h ^ ImtiaZ Iau8hed' more. he had had enough of this 第 21 页 共 293 页 http://www. Let's see. I would imagine you will find him a little less tractable. there are some people in Bayou u -H k y ^arnmdari Ah r ?ia ^narrnaii wel1' tractaDle or not.' After a while he said: 'So Pran is married. anr) what about your twins ? A joint wedding to two sisters ?' court? beard and Jooking of 玜 itar. He's also his eyeJ1f^ner 癠 sJy and warily fTT^ ^Y n 皌?' said ^ cl 皌 h business' We're making enquiries. /T?B'J1 goes through naras l have been talking to?said Mahesh Kapoor in Sharni ^ C 癠 ld bec 癿 e Chief JU countryside. and Maan is next. tftere are some people m K choJ C 癿 e a hero throueho.thinki.rr. 'Why. added' you might lose a friend or r?Perplexedjy.

玜 id Maai 第 22 页 共 293 页 http://www.' slightly . when| genially.k~. I thr wav Hnwn fbp stairs : plenty. For some teas' Imt'aZ added' ' ? I Cant y 癠' Imtiaz? A11 y 皍 would have to do would be to readingF he ren3501!} ^攕 de^ghted Maan 'A f..sort asked Firoz half.?.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 .i]fv /?' F'ro: excesses-' the happy hourTi!?^611 Jess than Maan? 玹 ^ h'i 'M rit' a11 ri8ht' we'U a11 8?down?said Maan 'God knows j ' 3 d uncertainly. let's hope it n^ ^rsl 'As 'ong as t^lere are no contra-indications..3 if lsnt gating you marri^ a ?. no thank Vean0ther?* * ** married yet .Tm g 癷 ng downAt)ta will be wondering 'Well. of nonsense.' said Imtiaz withholds his ass r' ^ 'f if do? that th?? tO thl seriouslyHe laueheH ss^nte * resident| 'No centra-indications.' said Maan. 'Maybe some of the bees will cling to us too. . laughing as he led ._ ?3nd took a Connie 玣 !_..3t the enquiry stage ' said )U I if we get stung to the heart.en8848. And 'At the firs/r 踛 S. I app'y a rose 揚 eta 攖 o r^e wound isn't that so ?' third reading i A j' '^ell.com. Doctor Sahib here can cure us.and whether you really do now have a enjoyed his d ^ u St'^ ^ave Plenty ' said P' * l beautiful sister-in-law to scold you and curb your father would with a 玪 ightly e. the buff Sy e?a smile andTfro ?Ci where 皀 earth we've g0t tO?And s?wil1 your father' And discons 鬺 atelv 搘?Z 皀 e disaPpeared tonight ^?-j ! besides. we ought to find out if your brother is formally 'No.

' ? 'Don't interrupt. And if we get stung to the heart. 'If you were to go down into the garden. I Maan nodded vigorously.and whether you really do now have a beautiful sister-in-law to scold you and curb your excesses.' said Maan genially. vuny locks. 'You've got rhf ~:~-:tc-j. ? 'Why.VI '? _ 卾.| looking. I Firoz looked a little evasively around the room. Curly ..' Maan quoted a couplet from an Urdu ghazal to the ' -? ?en lotuses a couplet from a 2. Doctor Sahib here can cure us. curly locks. 'And what! about your marriage ?' he demanded of Firoz. we'll all go down. Imtiaz ? All you would have to do would be to apply a rose-petal to the wound. a good. 'You've got the simile slightly wrong. M 'Change the subject. if you were to go into the garden instead of* drinking here in seclusion -' I 'It's hardly seclusion. FirV -^-^ ?nu rook a couple of long swigs. 'Men are bees. uccs to a lotus.' said Maan.com.' 'All right. will you be mine ?' Firoz flushed.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . we ought to find out if your brother is formally married yet . you would be surrounded within seconds by eligible young beauties. And ineligible I ones too. Curly I Jocks. all right. It was asl bare and functional as most of the rooms in Prem Nivas -1 which looked as if they expected the imminent arrival of a I herd of constituents. elegant fellow like you. throwing an arm around f him.' said Firoz. women lotuses.玦 d Firoz. 'Maybe some of the bees will cling to us too. Can't you.vo. will you be mine ?' ' Firoz flushed. 'My marriage !' he said with a laugh.6 besides.' he said. They'd cling to you like bees to a lotus. isn't that so ?' 第 23 页 共 293 页 http://www.en8848.

'But some people are allergic even to rosepetals. and in some ways not very heartening. after her marriage. 第 24 页 共 293 页 http://www. brother never made a list of what he took with him*% Pakistan ' j At the word Pakistan. 'No contra-indications. His grandchildren were the only two beings in the world who had the right to interrupt him when he I was studying in his library. But now the great yellcr. He gently brushed it away. ancestral mansion of Baitar House. his daughter Zainab. 1. 'Silverfish. but about her two children with transparent delight.8 BECAUSE the Nawab Sahib had been looking somewhat lost without his sons. Veena's mother-in-law. Son| of the early editions of Ghalib can't be traced now. M.' 搒 aid tlj Nawab Sahib. had disappeared into the world of purdah. Mahesh Kapoor's daughter Veena had drawn him into her family circle.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . who was a childhood friend of hers but who.'As long as there are no contra-indications. withered old Mrs Tandon. The old man talked about her rather guardedly. you have one sticking to your cap.' said Imtiaz. She asked him about his eldest child. just a few minuta walk from Prem Ni vas. laughing as he led the way down the stairs. an| some valuable manuscripts by our own poet Mast.' said Firoz. 'And I need help with cataloguing. 'These things float down from nowhere.com.' said Imtiaz seriously. you know.en8848. who v/as walking down just behind him.' said Maan.' 'Do I ?' asked Maan. 'You may laugh. It's f gigantic task. Talking of which. flinched.' 'So they do. was somewhat run dowrfclind tli library too had suffered.

They had returned here to Veena's hometown. and quickly changed the subject I even at the cost of appearing rude.' said Veena. . old Mrs Tandon thought bitterly. green trapeziums. the lights into fire. gazing upwards with pleased and abstract wonderment at the elaborate geometrical patterns .red rhombuses. it had appeared completely secure so shortly before it was lost for ever. I think I saw him near the food. but Veena did. It had been beautiful before it had become so suddenly hideous .' said Kedarnath with a smile. They had been wealthy. Finally they found Bhaskar.en8848.com. yellow squares and blue triangles . it's Maan's. 'Where's Bhaskar ?' she asked her husband. it was too much for her imagination.' Veena led her mother-in-law away. carcass-tainted things . 'I wish you wouldn't call him that. And to distract the old lady she did in fact get involved in looking for her son. Daily. but even Veena and Kedarnath had not let* those events embitter their lives. Veena's husband. The young. For old Mrs Tandon. 'I don't know.Three years ago. She felt ill. in her imagination she returned to what she still thought of as her city and her home. It's not auspicious ' 'It's not my name for him. He enjoyed being mildly henpecked. sometimes hourly. the descent from a decent | prosperity could not have been more painful. but almost everything they had owned was lost and they had been lucky to escape with their lives.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . still had scars on his hands from an attack by rioters on his refugee convoy. 'But I'll call him whatever you want me to. but when he mentioned comings and goings from Pakistan. He was not eating anything but simply standing under the great multicoloured cloth canopy that covered the food tables. The Nawab Sahib did not notice that anything was the matter.from which it had been stitched 第 25 页 共 293 页 http://www. The pleasant chatter of the garden in Brahmpur was amplified into the cries of the blood-mad mobs on the streets of Lahore. and Kedarnath had set himself up in a small way in . She had been f willing to tolerate talking to the Nawab Sahib though he | was a Muslim. her wholi family had had to flee the blood and flames and unforgettable terror of Lahore. are veryj resilient: her grandchild Bhaskar had of course only been! six at the time. 'propertied people. the little frog.' said Kedarnath. Her son Kedarnath.of all polluting. 'He is your son. Several of their friends had been butchered.the shoe trade.

Perhaps they woul/ be too exhausted. the guests. and leave for a week's honeymoon in Simla tomorrow.' Lata blushed. * f 'You turned up your nose. -to* .t exhausted by emotion. Ma. a heap of gifts had grown by the side of the bench where Pran and Savita had been sitting. That Savita would be sleeping with Pran tonight did not bear thinking of. though. It did ! not strike her as being at all romande. Lata ?' asked her motlter. 'What are you thinking of. Lata tried to imagine the nuptial room.9 THE crowds had thinned. Finally only they and a few members of the family were left and the yawning servants who would put away the more valuable furniture for the night.' she sai( emphatically. was Malati's confident opinion. i 'Oh. to do anything but stare at Lata for ten seconds. It was not at all pleasant to follow her imagination further. had* 第 26 页 共 293 页 http://www. too cum bered with congratulations. I saw it. some chewing paan. 1. 'I don't think I ever want to get married. that. Lata thought. too softened by Sanskrit. in short. were departing at the gate. nothing. she thought optimistically. The bride and groom were lost in their thoughts. too overwrought. Presumably it would be fragrant with tuberoses. I'll always associate tuberoses with Pran. They avoided looking at each other now.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . mother should be good enough for her. ' said Lata automatically.com. or pack the gifts in a trunk under the watchful eye of Mrs Rupa Mehra. What on earth had got into the girl ? What was good enough for her mother and her mother's mother and her mother's mother's. They would spend the night in a carefully prepared room in Prem Nivas.en8848.together. at least. Mrs Rupa Mehra was too wearied by the wedding. Lata.

'You must write to me every day from Simla. 'Cling?' The word was pronounced with such quiet scorn that her mother could not help bursting into tears. Savita darling.' This was of course quite untrue. And how unpredictable a baby could be.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . you are P 30 like my own son now. She clasped Savita to her bosom and wept loudly. How terrible it was to have an ungrateful daughter. Indeed. Lata's \ fingers had had a strong and coiling grasp which even now f came back with a sweet vividness to her mother. you must cling to your husband !' It was not a success. with a strange will of her own! quiet but unpredictable . when she was a baby. and she was determined to have her| own way. Suddenly Mrs Rupa Mehra burst out with the inspired remark : 'Lata.always been a difficult one. which was trained to cling : first to her family. you must be responsible and see to it. Now that the tears were running down her cheeks. 'You must write to me. a I vine. But Mrs Rupa Mehra was one who believed with unformulated but absolute conviction in the paramountcy of subjective over objective truth. I And yet.10 第 27 页 共 293 页 http://www.en8848. then f to her husband.' she said. Arun and Varun and Meenakshi and Aparna would all be crowded together with her in Arun's little flat in Sunny Park.com. Pran. 1. 'Cling?' said Lata.all alone.like that time in St Sophia's! when she had wanted to become a nun! But Mrs Rupaf Mehra too had a will. Mrs Rupa Mehra transferred them fluidly from one daughter to the other. Soon I will be all alone in Calcutta . you are a vine. Lata was named after that most pliable thing. even if she was under no illusions as to Lata's j pliability.

and one fell here. But after a while he took h|me id his hands and said. The tonga was quite crowded: Varun was sitting with young Bhaskar in the front. He felt miserable.and Aparna in her ice-creamstained sweater and a frock.' said Malati. don't stop. heh. he tried to make it slightly sinister.' 'In a china-china-shop. Like a bulbul. next to the tonga-wallah. Malati now began to sing the words of the popular film song herself.' she whispered to Lata.' Varun's laugh was nervous. But it didn't work. 'You have a nice voice. It was pleasant to think of shattered hearts on a cloudlesj morning.wasn't helping. She had even got Lata interested in Indian! 第 28 页 共 293 页 http://www. nudging Lata gently.en8848. Malati loved music.for it had to be sarcasm . one of the finest singeri in north India. 'Heh.THE tonga clip-clopped along the road. Realizing that it sounded weak. and studied classical singing under Ustad Majeed Khan. The white-turbaned old tonga-wallah enjoyed driving furiously through this part of town with its broad. then suddenly stopped. and the tongawallah sang out : 'A heart was shattered into bits .unlike the cramped madness of Old Brahmpur. He started talking to his horse. turning around : I 'You have a . and back-to-back with them sat Lata and Malati . She hadn't meant to discourage Varun.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . heh. and one fell there ' Varun started to hum along. with her green eyes and sarcasm . relatively uncrowded streets . ' I It was true. It was a sunny winter morning. j Varun didn't join in. then sang louder. urging her on.com. 'Oh. And Malati.both dressed in salwaar-kameez .a wonderful voice.

dreamily. He had started walking slowly. let's go on.en8848. anti-clockwise along the fence. 'The distance is the same. Jet's go ? on. he gripped the tonga-wallah's arm and cried: I 'Stop F ? 'What's the matter ?' asked Lata. 'They say it's based on the Derby.if we're in a hurry. ? 'Do you think so?' she said.' ? 'Of course we're not. almost uncontrollably I excited. Yes. He was almost pawing the earth.nothing .' I Varun blushed to the depths of his soul and was speech-1 less for a few minutes.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . turning around to look? deeply into his eyes. Lata often found hersel? humming some tune or other in one of her favourite raags. by himself. But as they passed the Brahmpur? Race-course. Varun Bhai. who happened to be standing next to him.' he breathed.yes ? Yes ?' 'About yesterday evening.nothing .' ? After they had got down. almost to himself. I Malati did not disclaim Varun's compliment. isn't it.' she said.com.' he added to young Bhaskar. 'We're only I going to the zoo.classical music during the time they had lived togetherm the student hostel. Lata caught up with him : 'Varun Bhai ?' she said. As a result. awestruck. 'But what's the difference?' asked Bhaskar.' \ 'Yesterday evening ?' Varun dragged himself back to the two-legged world. Varun. wandered to the white palings and stared through. Let's stop if you want. 'You are very sweet to say so. 'Er . 'What happened ?' 第 29 页 共 293 页 http://www. I 'It's the only anti-clockwise racecourse in India other F than Lucknow. whether you run clockwise or anticlockwise ?' Varun paid no attention to Bhaskar's question. B 'Oh .

as Varun well knew. this won't do. Varun Bhai. go ahead. 'Well.' continued Lata. the memory of them still stung. when angry.'Our sister got married.com.' he added.Arun. I have a hard enough time. she was outside the range of Arun's blunderbuss. that I can see it does. 'Arun Bhai tries to crush everyone around him like a steamroller. I think you should be more confident. exasperated with the lack of success of his bludgeoning attempts at dissuasion. I know. in the evening Arun Bhai and Meenakshi Bhabhi are often out and I have to mind Aparna. Savita. 'don't let yourself be bullied by Arun Bhai.well.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 .a foolish. 'Surely you must have some friends ' said Lata.' Lata thanked God that she wasn't studying at Calcutta University. Arun. had said: 'All right. Just don't. 'Well.flat in front and flat at the back. because at the house I'll hardly get the chance to talk to you alone. adolescent notion. She placed her hand firmly on his slouching shoulder and said: 'I want you tof 第 30 页 共 293 页 http://www. 'Varun. He was too well aware that while he lived in his elder brother's house he was subject to his elder brother's will.' Varun nodded unhappily.' Lata spoke from experience. just that you shouldn't let it hurt you the way that .' said Lata.' 'Ah. smih'ng weakly. 'I really hate it. And tomorrow you'll be gone. 'Not that I mind. I just thought I'd say so now. yes. 'I wish you were in Calcutta. 'Just because he's a few years older doesn't make him your father and teacher and sergeant-major all rolled into one. no one would have married you anyway. Oh.' said Varun. but her own .' She stopped smiling. hardly cared what he said.' he added. I really hate seeing him bully you.' said Lata. and looked at him as a shadow crossed his face.' said f arun. Even though those words were no longer true. for most of the year at least. Yes. and it's up to us to remove our egos from his path. become a nun. you look just like the Bible . and I'm not even in Calcutta. When Lata had taken it into her head to become a nun . hoping to imply alertness by specificity. no -' he said.' 'No. 'Anyway.en8848. uncertainly. I don't mean that you should cheek him or answer back or anything. ruin your life.

all thoughts of J everything else obliterated.with people you really like and: who like you . All five of them sat in a small. Varun said to himself. Pretend' you have to attend a coaching session or something. but they were overruled.' said Varun to himself. indicating vaguely the built-up area beyond the well-laid-out gardens of the race-course.com. Bhaskar noted.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . Bhaskar and Aparna joined forces and asked to ride on the children's railway.en8848.' said the tonga-wallah. Lata and Malati wanted a walk after the tonga ride. Would the others tend to bolt? What difference would it make to the odds ? 1. \ 'How amazing. Varun sat opposite Malati.' Lata* didn't care for deception. ' I wonder if it gives the local horses an advantage. j A train hooted suddenly from alarmingly close. post-box-red ' compartment.for at least two evenings a week. it's just over there. while the little green steam engine puffed along on its p one-foot-wide track. and the tonga horse shied. their knees 第 31 页 共 293 页 http://www. and she didn't know whether1 Varun would be any good at it. which. j 'Oh. 'Not far from the zoo. squashed together and facing each other this I time. also went around anti-clockwise. She was worried about Varun.( wallah.go out with your friends . to continue as they were. but she didn't want things .11 WHEN they got to the zoo. i He patted the horse when they got back into the tonga. \ He had looked even more jittery at the wedding than when she had seen him a few months previously. [ 'How far is the station from here ?' he asked the tonga.

en8848. Aparna. Both children were eager to see the snake pit. They discussed mathematics.yes.' 'You're very protective of your elder brother. They attached themselves to their most-favoured adults. But the best stop of all was the reptile house. In Lata's company she behaved in a less brat-like manner. they did not have much to say to each other. Since Bhaskar was nine. and the glass cases with their deadly vipers and kraits and cobras. 'Mm . It's good for him. found Lata reassuringly certain in her affection. Aparna's eyes began to shine with anticipation. the cold. Malati enjoyed the fun of this. 'I see enough horrifying things as a medical student. But seriously. which was full of fairly sluggish pythons. They even saw a smaller one. the emu. 'Oh. I see . 'I wish you wouldn't tease Varun. the brown pelican. the camel.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 .' She laughed.' said Malati.I almost touching. and took the kids inside. And also. Luckily Varun had a taste for the sinister. as the white. and Aparna a third of his age.' said Lata after a while. I am worried 第 32 页 共 293 页 http://www. serrated mouths opened lazily far below. but Varun was so disconcerted that he looked desperately around at the giraffes. leaned over the railings and pointed and squealed and shuddered. 'Just listening to him attentively. since I don't have a younger brother. corrugated crocodiles onto whose backs some schoolchildren and visiting villagers were throwing coins while others. brought up by her socialite parents with alternating indulgence and irritation.' said Malati. Malati.' 'He's not . Lata and Malati refused to go in. 35 Well. some of whom were licking huge bobbins of pink spun candy. Bhaskar and Varun got on famously once Bhaskar succeeded in getting him to concentrate. I suppose I've given him the part. and even stared attentively at the crowds of schoolchildren. I wasn't teasing him. as he paced frenziedly across the floor of his cage.you make him nervous. my younger elder brother.com. the common bat. of course. They saw the elephant. and all the big cats. the blackspotted leopard-cat. the red fox.oh. with special reference to racing odds.

en8848. hehF Malati imitated Varun's laugh. was notorious for her outspoken views. I whom. We don't know what he's going to do when he graduates in a few months. the very thought of it would have given Mrs Rupa Mehra nightmares. I but my mother would have a fit. and her love [ affairs .about him. She usually judges things by J influences. her partici. she treated with contempt. He hasn't shown much aptitude for anything. Malati Trivedi. I'm L quite amazed that she does. I 'That's beside the point. '? This was certainly true. Even though it was an impossible j proposition geographically. apart from being one of a small handful of girls among the t almost five hundred boys at the Prince of Wales Medical I College.com.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . Heh. I wish some nice girl would take him in charge. I can tell. I would have thought you're a bad influence on 1 第 33 页 共 293 页 http://www.' said Lata. Malati.though not with any of those five hundred boys.' said Lata. ? 'Don't be facetious. And Arun bullies him fearfully. I don't know about Varun. And so is my mother. ' 'And I'm not the one ? I must say. I 'Your mother likes me. he has a certain feeble charm.' said Malati. 'And actually. by and large.| pation in the activities of the Socialist Party.

however. she had not discovered any. an enormous plus in Mrs Rupa Mehra's subconscious calculus. Mrs Rupa Mehra was convinced that Malati Trivedi. dressed conservatively but attrac. matters that I 36 I her own westernized children showed very little interest in. a surgeon from Agra.' I But this was not entirely true. So far. the bond of paternal loss also tied Lata and Malati together.I ment medical college (usually referred to by its royal title) I had no provision for housing its small contingent of women 1 and had persuaded the university to accommodate them in I its hostels.com. JL Malati was charming. must have Kashmiri or Sindhi blood in her. He had been a successful and handsome man with a wide acquaintance and a varied history of work : he had been attached to the army for a while and had gone to 第 34 页 共 293 页 http://www. when she was eight.en8848. and could talk to Mrs Rupa Mehra about everything T from religious fasts to cooking to genealogy. Though they did not often talk about it. She was also fair.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . Malati had certainly given Lata more 1 confidence than she had had when she had emerged wet. even from Mrs Rupa I Mehra's viewpoint. which (unlike I ghazals) Mrs Rupa Mehra approved of. Malati had lost her adored father. That they should I have become room-mates at all was because the govern. And Malati had succeeded in I getting Lata to enjoy Indian classical music. with her dangerously attractive greenish eyes.V tively.1 feathered from St Sophia's.me.

idealistic. (After a while. although he had not been very good at saving money. Malati's mother went into what seemed like an irreversible depression. the other three. It was not necessary now to have two kitchens. upright woman. he had taught in Lucknow at the medical college. The eldest was a proper tomboy.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . and it was essential that she think of things in a practical way. Malati was determined to become a doctor I like him. and already married to a rural landlord's son. he had been too young to be treated as anything different. 37 who was eight years younger than her sister. one aged five.en8848. he had gone the way of his brothers. but even after her marriage she joined her sisters in Agra for months at a time. Meerut. When he died. Every five years or so he would uproot himself and move to another town in U. and she was concerned more with what was right than with what was convenient or approved of or monetarily beneficial. and never allowed his instruments to rust. She I intended one day to use them. but which were lying in storage after his death. many of the men Malati came into contact j with were precisely that. sixteen years old when her father died.almost all girls. her boyish look. Lucknow. the fact that the boys' clothes were at handl the sadness that her parents had experienced at the deatJil of their two sons. but they had both died in childhood. one after | another. She was a very simple. he had owned a fair amount of property .com. she lived about twenty miles away from Agra in a huge house with twenty servants. I Malati had therefore been brought up almost entirely v among women . he had also been in private practice. and remained in that state for two years. but without disposing of the old ones. Agra. Then she pulled herself together. It was in that light that she was determined to bring up her family. The boys had been followed by Malati herself.Afghanistan . perhaps out of perplexity. and endless fields. lichi orchards. No one could touch the memory j of her father.though not by any means like the tomboy her sister was . She also grew up as a sort of boy . even her little brother had been like a little sister. I Who were these men ? One was the cousin who did them out of many of the things that her father had collected and used.P. After Malati came three girls.largely in the form of houses.for a variety of reasons conrifectec ' with her infancy: the direct gaze in her unusual eyes. Wherever he lived he built a new house. and then her father died. one European 第 35 页 共 293 页 http://www. This daughter had been followed by two sons. She had a large family to take care of. Malati's mother had cleared out what she had seen as inessentials from their life. And what a family! . At the time of his death. then another boy.) The girls grew up in an atmosphere where men came to be seen as exploitative and threatening. Bareilly.

and most men struck her as being immature. He would happily have cheated them. and make deals with them. Men fell for her at a rapid rate. and refused point-blank. He very soon fell madly in love with Malati. told her he would manage matters. It was just that her standards were too high. twenty-six-year-old but rather sleazy college teacher who had lived downstairs in a rented room when Malati was fifteen or so. marriage was a distraction for someone who had set her sights upon the career of medicine.well. Malati's mother never saw a rupee of the proceeds. Malati had had a lot to put up with : teasing. and requested her mother for permission to marry her. Yet another was her father's younger brother. the pulling of the light chunni around her neck. He would contact property agents or other prospective buyers in the towns where the houses were located.' Another was the servant who acted as an intermediary for the sale of the houses. she 第 36 页 共 293 页 http://www.' This was very far from the truth. over the sale of that house.though he was a bachelor. most of the time she didn't. in a garage. when she had studied Intermediate Science in Agra. Besides. The cousin came. gossip. got the keys from the grieving widow.' she had said philosophically. provoked by one boy beyond endurance. and before that. not much of it charitable) about sending Malati to learn from him . she was amazed and shocked. The remarks were unbearable and only diminished when. Perhaps in this case the neighbours were right. she had slapped his face hard in front of his friends.en8848. together with a great deal of furniture. At the medical college in Brahmpur. and remarks such as 'She wants to be a boy. and had no compunction. 'Well. no matter what the neighbours said (and they said a great deal. The china and fine cutlery for western food was put away. and cleaned out whatever had been stored. She over-filled the unforgiving minute. if he had been able to. When Malati was asked by her mother for her views on the matter. He needed money to spend on the dancing girl. It was not as if she truly hated men . He had something of a reputation as a cheat. Malati's mother wanted her to learn English.com. and she was not enormously concerned if she never got married. with his wife downstairs and 38 a dancing girl upstairs. but she saw them as beneath her attention. Then there was the young . who still lived in the Lucknow house.and one Indian. 'at least my sins have lessened.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . No one came near the image she and her sisters had of their father. As a girl of twelve or thirteen.

then a grey film blinked sideways across each eyeball. Malati fell in love ! with a married musician. presumably. and it walked carefully away. I At the moment she was unattached. her mother did not insist that she help with cooking and housework. grey. but that they would have to find their own husbands. they would be allowed to go to the shop by themselves and eat it.' said Lata as a vendor went past. 'Let's surprise the kids by buying some of that spun candy for them. Young men would look up in fascination at the first floor of the house. Sometimes she would actually hide from people. though less detectable. rather. for she would pounce angrily on anyone who dared disturb her. Malati's mother made it clear to the girls that she would give them the best education possible. 第 37 页 共 293 页 http://www. intense red eyes.regardless of what people said. She wanted them.com. as they heard five girls singing along undemurely together. When neighbours objected to the shamelessness of letting young girls go around by themselves in Agra. who was a socialist. to learn music and dancing and languages (and especially to be good at English) . 'I wonder what's keeping them. Because Malati had such remarkable eyes herself. If the girls wanted ice-cream as a special treat.or. If a tutor had to be called to the house of the six women. | Though full of energy most of the time. guided them all . Malati's mother was remarkable in that she wished her daughters to be independent. an influence that lay outside the province of western i medicine. apart from their schooling at a Hindi medium school.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . Malati would ' fall ill every few months or so. A dirty. bossed them around . seeking out a corner where no one would be likfiy to find her.had been a loner. they would go . She remained involved with the Socialist Party even when their affair ended. and if this meant that they had to go to someone's house to learn what was needed. She loved reading. Her elder sister. he would be called. As the years passed. Then she had another rather unhappy love affair. and her mother would | come down from Agra to Brahmpur to cure her of the evil i eye. even in her crowded family. and people knew better than to talk to her when she had a book in her hands. What's the matter. When this happened. was worse. the tomboy. they were allowed occasionally to go to the shop after dark instead which. * Soon after she came to Brahmpur. 'Malati's reading. They got the message soon enough.en8848. she guided the education of her younger sisters.' was enough for people to avoid the room where she lay or sat 39 crouched. pink-legged crane surveyed Malati and Lata with its small.in other matters. ]\ she was a special target of the evil eye.

' said Lata looking around quickly. This time they all joined in. 'Look. Lata started to laugh.' said Lata. Do not pluck the flowers. At the turnstile a ragged urchin looked longingly at them. handed four to Lata to hold with her two narcissi. and began to eat the fifth.com. One she kept. And like an obedient little mouse. and two she handed to Lata. Then Malati bought five sticks of flossy pink candy.' said Lata.' said Lata. 'Well.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . Til never fall in love. He had been on the point of begging. One of her narcissi went into the horse's mane. It was intolerable. marriage then. Presumably they would return from the hills deeply in love.Malati? What are you thinking of ?' 'Love. 'And what will happen then to your plan to teach in a small school for poor children ?' demanded Malati.en8848. love. with some distaste. what a boring subject. I'm wondering whom you'll get married to. of Savita and Pran. Passers-by turned their heads as the tonga trotted past. you'll obey her. who felt very awkward holding such illegally gotten gains.' 'Oh please. but hadn't yet done so. This rather annoyed Malati. 第 38 页 共 293 页 http://www. and looked astonished. I know you do from time to time. The 4i tonga-wallah again began to sing of his shattered heart. For a few minutes they all ate their candy. Aparna was looking petrified and holding Varun's hand tightly. 'I'm not interested in that either. who had left for Simla. But -' She lapsed into silence. 'Oh. blushing. 'Well.' 'Quite right. walking towards the exit. here they come. Malati. who bent down and plucked three narcissi growing immediately in front of a sign that read. and Lata quickly gave him a small coin. Your mother will get you married off within a year. I'm sure of it.' said Malati. sex then. thinking once again.' she added.

and had been a disaster. especially since you have my daughter with you.' He was furious. 1. all in all. he had to face the consequences of returning an hour late. The experiment had lasted a few months. He was thinking how satisfying it would be to feed his elder brother. 'you should have known better than to let him lose track of the time. to the largest of the crocodiles.' said Arun. He left home suddenly for weeks on end without leaving money or instructions for the staff.12 ONE of the reasons why Lata was studying in Brahmpur was because this was where her grandfather. and hoped to help him with his household affairs. Aparna's mother and grandmother were looking anxious. Finally. I don't want to hear any excuses. You know what he's like.and her family had gone to live with her father. At any rate. perhaps this was. he accused his daughter. Just after Raghubir Mehra had died. And my sister. He had promised his daughter Rupa when Lata first came to study here that he would take very good care of her. of making eyes at his colleagues when he invited them home . are in charge. whose good looks had survived her widowhood. Since it was from his grandfather that Arun had inherited his atrocious temper. 'You damn irresponsible fool. Given her straitened finances. as the man. she thought. Lata did not mind living in the university dormitory. where Arun and Meenakshi and Mrs Rupa Mehra were staying. Dr Kishen Chand Seth was an impossible man to live with. but in Brahmpur at large : everyone was scared of him and obeyed him tremblingly.The crocodiles had had a liberating effect on Varun. lived. Far better for her studies. dressing him down in front of everyone. You damned idiot. from which he had retired as Principal.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . But this had never happened. this seemed to be the only thing to do .en8848. But when they got back to Fran's house on the university campus.com. who at that stage had not yet remarried. and if you say twelve-thirty. it had better be twelve-thirty. He expected his home life to run on similar lines. not a bad thing.' Varun bowed his head and looked shiftily at his feet. 'You. than under the wing of her irascible Nana. he was a force to reckon with not only at the medical college. 第 39 页 共 293 页 http://www. she also thought that he might be lonely. head first. Mrs Rupa Mehra 42.a shocking accusation for the heartbroken though sociable Rupa. He overrode Rupa Mehra's writ with respect to her own children. 'And you -' he added to Lata. Tiny though he was. Dr Kishen Chand Seth was far too preoccupied either with bridge at the Subzipore Club or feuds with the likes of the Minister of Revenue or passion for his young wife Parvati to be capable of fulfilling any guardian-like role towards Lata. Dr Kishen Chand Seth.

and had been replaced in their turn by the purple-wreath creeper.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . and. of whom she had formed such an unfavourable first impression. Lata's enrolment at Brahmpur University. There had been tears and yells and Dr Kishen Chand Seth had pounded the floor with his stick. not her 第 40 页 共 293 页 http://www. Savita's wedding (which he had almost wrecked and from which he had wilfully absented himself) : all these were landmarks along an extremely bumpy road. Lata had left the hostel and had gone to live with Savita and Pran. past the whitewashed pillars of the Subzipore Club and the spacious estate of the university. Mrs Rupa Mehra had tried .en8848. one had to take the rough with the smooth. flowing due east past the ugly chimneys of the tannery and the marble edifice of the Barsaat Mahal. affectionate ways. Savita's engagement (which Dr Kishen Chand Seth had helped arrange). as Mrs Rupa Mehra continually told herself.to find a match for Lata in Calcutta. Winter had gone and the pythons in the zoo had emerged from hibernation. But now at last she was going back to Brahmpur for a three-month stint at what she had begun to call her second home: her daughter's home. Malati visited Lata often. still recovering from the excitement and exertion of Savita's wedding. Since then things had jolted along. and had grown to like the lanky Pran. past the bathing ghats and the cremation ghat and the Brahmpur Fort. temples and mosques.without success . who had descended from Simla to the plains very much in love. with her brood of four. Several months had now passed since Savita's wedding. and was not too upset to learn that Savita was pregnant. after all. past Old Brahmpur { with its crowded bazaars and alleys. Reconciliation had been effected a year later in a renewed bout of weeping. whose fivebladed flowers helicoptered gently to the ground 43 in the hot breeze. Perhaps she had not made enough effort. The broad. The marriage with Parvati (which had shocked not just his family but Brahmpur at large because of the disparity of age). silty-brown Ganga. Mrs Rupa Mehra wrote long letters to her daughters from Arun's flat in Calcutta. she told herself: she was.com. Though she did not mention this in any of her letters for fear of enraging her daughter. Lata too liked his decent.The teenaged Arun had threatened to beat up his grandfather. had shrunken with the summer. as did trains along the parallel railway line that bounded Brahmpur to the south. But family was family. Then Mrs Rupa Mehra had left. and had sought refuge with sympathetic friends in Darjeeling. but boats and steamers still plied busily up and down its length. Roses had replaced narcissi. and complained repeatedly that no one replied to her letters either soon enough or often enough. weeping and determined.

All this was brushed brusquely aside.' 'Who's just coming ? Fool !' 'Burri Memsahib. woke into a nightmare. As the train puffed along towards Brahmpur. your father is here. She was resting. Within a day or two of her arrival she would go to her father for advice. (Mrs Rupa Mehra's good looks had been the gift of her mother. and hot.' 'Oh. knocking at the door of Mrs Rupa Mehra's room.com. coffee or fresh lime juice. who had been enjoying an afternoon nap.' 'Yes. Mrs Rupa Mehra promised herself that she would make another attempt.13 IN the event.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . His short. the propitious city which had yielded her one son-in-law already. Mansoor hurried inside. He drove to the university the next day in a fury and arrived at Pran Kapoor's house. Sahib. Oh. and offer him some tea. 'What??Who?' 'Burri Memsahib. 'Tell him I will be with him immediately.' Mansoor entered the drawing room. Mansoor.father's. 'Is anyone at home? Where is everyone?' asked Dr Kishen Chand Seth in a rage. Dr Seth was staring at an ashtray. 44 ? It was three in the afternoon. the young servant. Sahib. it was not necessary to go to Dr Kishen Chand Seth for advice. 1. Lata was attending a lecture on the Metaphysical Poets. compressed and very jowly appearance made him look a little like a fierce and wrinkled Tibetan watchdog.' 第 41 页 共 293 页 http://www. 'Burri Memsahib?' he called.en8848.) He carried a carved Kashmiri cane which he used more for emphasis than for support. tried to soothe Dr Kishen Chand Seth by offering him tea. Pran was at the department. 'She's just coming. 'Well ? Are you dumb as well as half-witted ?' asked Dr Kishen Chand Seth. Savita had gone shopping. Memsahib.' Mrs Rupa Mehra.

Dr Kishen Chand Seth picked up a day-old Statesman in preference to that day's Brahmpur Chronicle. Sahib? Or coffee?' 'Just now you offered me nimbu pani. her father's anger or his sarcasm. You heard me.' said Dr Kishen Chand Seth impatiently in Hindi. 第 42 页 共 293 页 http://www.' 'A glass of nimbu pani. stop all this nonsense. Mrs Rupa Mehra dressed hurriedly in a black and white cotton sari and emerged from her room.en8848. Burri Memsahib. stop it. She entered the drawing room. Mansoor said. 'And oh -' 'Yes. and began to apologize. 'Yes. Baoji. could ever somehow have been elevated into not just a Memsahib but a Burri Memsahib puzzled and annoyed Dr Seth. 'Will you have some tea. Sahib.' Mansoor made to go. and sat down to read in an armchair.That Rupa.com. Sahib.' 'After waiting for a week I decided to visit you. At once. 'Oh. his mere chit of a daughter.' 'Yes. yes.' 'Yes.' Mansoor went into the back garden to pluck a couple oft limes.' Mrs Rupa Mehra didn't know which was worse. What kind of daughter are you ?' 'A week ?' said Mrs Rupa Mehra palely. 'Yes. Sahib?' 45 'Are there any arrowroot biscuits in this house ?' 'I think so.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . Sahib. stop it. then returned to the kitchen to squeeze them into juice. Everyone was halfwitted in this house. a week.

'Sugar is poison for me. 'What have you put in it ?' 'Sugar.' roared Dr Kishen Chand Seth. Sahib. not sugar. I have diabetes. and was standing in for his father.com. Was he trying to cheek him ? 'Of course it's nimbu pani.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . Sahib. looked closely at Mansoor. He was only sixteen. Dr Seth took a sip and bellowed in fury'Scoundrel !' Mansoor turned. yes.' 'You buffoon! I have my nimbu pani made with salt. He noticed the expression on Dr Seth's face and stood hesitantly by the door.' Dr Seth. what are you waiting for?' Mansoor set the tray down on a small glass-topped table and turned to leave.en8848.' Mansoor was nonplussed. jowls shaking.' 'What have you given me ?' 46 \ fc 'Nimbu pani. 第 43 页 共 293 页 http://www. 'Yes.do you want to poison me ?' 'No. who had taken a short leave.'But I only arrived from Calcutta yesterday.' Her father seemed ready to explode at this patent fiction when Mansoor came in with the nimbu pani and a plate of arrowroot biscuits. trembling. put it down here. 'You rogue . Did you think I thought it was whisky ?' 'Sahib. Sahib. None of his teachers during his five years at a village school had inspired in him such erratic terror as Burri Memsahib's crazy father. like your Burri Memsahib.

'Go.' 'Leave it. was considerably younger j than herself. 'Soggy !' he added in disgust. and it was not long in coming. Why are you staring at me like an owl ?' 'Yes. Sahib?' 'With pepper too. later. I'll make another glass. mistress. Yes . Usually Dr Seth had tea.make another glass.' Dr Kishen Chand Seth veered around towards his daughter.' 'Yes. Mrs Rupa Mehra found it very difficult to . She wilted before him. Dr Kishen Chand Seth went on : 'You have been back from Calcutta for a week and you haven't visited me once.' Mansoor ventured to smile. Dr Kishen Chand Seth rapped his stick on the floor. He had quite a nice smile.' 'With salt.' 'And. Sahib. 'Ungrateful!' Her father bit into an arrowroot biscuit for emphasis. Mrs Rupa Mehra knew better than to protest. Mrs Rupa Mehra did not entirely 第 44 页 共 293 页 http://www. Though fastidious. 'What are you laughing at like a donkey ?' asked Dr Seth.en8848. 'What kind of daughter do I have ?' he asked rhetorically. think of her other than as her father's nurse and. Rupa Mehra waited for the answer. 'Never. Sahib. idiot -' 'Yes. Sahib. Sahib.' 'Yes. of course. Parvati. and he brought the milk and sugar separately. 'With salt.' but thought better of it.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . No.How many times have I told you that ?' Mansoor was tempted to reply.com. Is it me you hate so much or your stepmother ?' 47 Since her stepmother.

' said her father in a conciliatory manner. Mrs Rupa Mehra bowed her head. It is best to be on good terms with everyone. 'Have you heard of telegrams ?' 'I thought of sending you one. so I decided to stay in Calcutta another week. Her father had been lonely for three decades after her mother had died. Parvati was good to him and (she supposed) good for him. 'Hunh!' said Dr Seth dismissively. Then. the expense?' 'Ever since you became a Mehra you have become completely evasive. 'But I only arrived here yesterday. this is the way things happen in the ?world. She had told him so a minute ago.' This was true.' she said. but I didn't think it was so important. Anyway.' This was an unkind cut. Baoji. but the pleasure of spending time with her threeyear-old granddaughter Aparna had also been a factor in her delay.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . fool!' said her father with rough affection. Have a biscuit. and could not fail to wound.' 'You wrote in your letter that you would be coming last week.en8848.com.resent Parvati. 'Eat. Baoji. thought Mrs Rupa Mehra. 'Or are you still keeping those brainless fasts that are so bad for your health ?' 'It is Ekadashi today. 'By the Brahmpur Mail.' 'But I couldn't get reservations. Mrs Rupa Mehra shook her head. but he evidently did not believe ' her.' Mrs Rupa Mehra fasted on the eleventh day of each lunar 第 45 页 共 293 页 http://www. 'Here.

cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . he had decided. 'But I don't know what Lata will say. What good did they think it did ? As an afterthought he added. Raghubir's brothers and sisters had taken her to their heart in a manner both affecting and comforting to a sixteenyear-old bride. 'Oh don't be so sensitive!' said Dr Kishen Chand Seth brutally. There have been too many mismatched marriages in this family. eight years after her husband's death.' 'Yes. His comment about mismatched marriages injured the memory of two loved ghosts. yes. Her husband's family was no more religious than it was evasive.en8848. when Rupa was very young. 'Yes. loosely coupled in several possible wounding interpretations.' said Mrs Rupa Mehra. Her nose began to redden.' The combination of these two sentences.' 第 46 页 共 293 页 http://www. and was possibly even intended as an insult to the asthmatic Pran.' Mrs Rupa Mehra's head jerked up. Far too late.' Dr Kishen Chand Seth frowned at this irrelevance. who had died in the post-First-World-War influenza epidemic. A suitable boy must be found for Lata. and still. 'Oh? Do you think so?' she said. She must be nearly twenty. 'Ever since you came under the influence of the Mehras you have become as religious as your ill-fated 48 mother.fortnight in memory of her husband. 'I don't care if it's ten Ekadashis. If she was growing to be 'as religious as her mother' (which she was not . 'And where will 1 find a suitable boy?' she continued 'We were lucky with Savita. allopathic soul. 'You should get Lata married off soon.' said her father with some heat. Most women. Parvati got married when she was in her thirties. A faded image now came before her eyes: the soft spirit of Dr Kishen Chand Seth's first wife could not have been more distant from his own freethinking. spent two-thirds of their time weeping and whimpering. the operative influence was probably the obvious one: that of her mother.com. she visited as many of them as possible in the course of what her children called her Annual Trans-India RailPilgrimage. and see what she got. was too much for Mrs Rupa Mehra. Her father seemed even more full of surprises than usual.at least not yet). 1 was just thinking the same.

! 'Oh.'\ tached to me. 'There's a young radiologist at the Prince of Wales. 'But you can't go now. his food. But now they say he's got engaged to that Banaras girl. Mrs Rupa Mehra knew.' said Dr Kishen Chand Seth impatiently. 'Arun and ? Meenakshi send their love.' j This seemed to satisfy Dr Seth for the moment. I can't remember his.' ? Dr Seth paused to interpret the yes.' said Mrs Rupa Mehra happily. 'Can't? Can't? Where is everyone when I want them?' retorted Dr Kishen Chand Seth. She's grown very at. Baoji. 'How is she ?' A 'Well. child.' he added as he walked to the door. a bit of morning sickness. name.nothing! 1 made the introduction.'Lucky . I mean my great-granddaughter. indeed so fond of. I hope I get a great-grandson this time.en8848. Is she preg I 49 nant? No one tells me anything. ? 'No. Each morsel had to be chewed twenty-four times to aid digestion. Then he said: 'It's | about time. Baoji. 1 'Soft. Arun's . When she was a child she had not been allowed to drink water with her meals.' he complained.' protested Mrs Rupa Mehra.' said Dr Kishen Chand Seth. Aparna ? She's very sweet.' he added. On the way to his car he paused by a bed of red and yellow cannas in Fran's front 第 47 页 共 293 页 http://www. idiot. Everyone will be back soon. remembering that he was supposed to be feuding with the Minister. it was sad to see him reduced to biscuits and boiled eggs. 1 'Yes.' began Mrs Rupa I Mehra. He clicked his tongue impatiently. 'Soft.' He f paused again.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . and he ! bit his arrowroot biscuit carefully.com. 'I'll see what I can do for Lata. If we had thought about it earlier and used our imaginations we could have captured Fran's younger brother and had a double wedding. Perhaps that is just as well. For a man so particular about. Mrs Rupa Mehra looked wistfully and worriedly from the doorway at her father's back.' ? Things had to be just so for her father.' her father went on. 'Don't forget your stepmother's birthday next week.

This afternoon. Arun was the only one in the family who could defy his grandfather and get away with it. so young Mansoor was dispatched to the market to buy some raw bananas to make into cutlets. Arun (on a visit during his vacation from St George's) had taken it for a catastrophic joyride. was still slightly dented from the time when. and tried to decide which card 第 48 页 共 293 页 http://www. inviting. Mrs Rupa Mehra took a few moments to recover from her father's bracing company. It had given him something to think about. As his daughter tremblingly watched. As he went through the kitchen to get the bicycle key and the shopping bag. he got into his ancient grey Buick. ten years ago.14 EVERYONE who knew Mrs Rupa Mehra knew how much she loved roses and. violetflushed roses graced with unrose-like.5?garden. and therefore most of the birthday cards she received featured roses of various colours and sizes. yellow roses. she was going through old cards for a practical purpose. sour. 1. She could not break her fast with grain.everything reminded her of everything. He had banned them at the Prince of Wales Medical College as long as he had wielded supreme power there. Suddenly realizing how hungry she was. With one swipe of his Kashmiri walking-stick he lopped off the head of a yellow canna. even inviting. now they were making a comeback. as her elder son was apt to remark. As Dr Kishen Chand Seth drove off. even a blue rose here and there combined themselves with ribbons. Bureaucratic flowers (among which he also classified marigolds.com. although the project threatened to overwhelm her with its resonances of ancient sentiment. He swiftly gulped it down. particularly. he passed by the counter. friends and assorted well-wishers all over India. roses in a misty pewter mug with a bowl of strawberries resting nearby. pictures of kittens and one of a guilty-looking puppy. and noticed the rejected glass of nimbu pani: cool. This noble machine. indeed was loved the more for it. unserrated leaves and mild. Apples and grapes and roses in a basket . and she noticed him get more and more agitated. something to plan.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . Red roses. sitting with her reading-glasses on at the desk in the room she shared with Lata. and even some from abroad . pictures of roses. and various degrees of copiousness and blatancy. she began to think of her sunset meal. sheep in a field with a foreground of roses . Mrs Rupa Mehra glanced in a cursory manner over her piles of old New Year cards before returning to the birthday roses. green thorns : birthday cards from family. She took out a small pair of scissors from the recesses of her great black handbag. he told himself that this had been a satisfying visit. bougainvillaea and petunias) infuriated him. a Raja among the rabble of Austins and Morrises that plied the Indian roads.en8848.

for fear of leakage. lengths of coloured paper. She could not afford cards.as implying an unacceptable disparity. could be seen . She turned to the card illustrated with grapes and apples.en8848. could contain two golden numerals indicating the age of the recipient. For cakes and candles too.for surely the age of the recipient would be an ambivalent detail in the present case. and a fourth silver star joined its fellows in a pattern of innocuous symmetry.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . Scraps of cardboard. but eight years of the deprivation of small luxuries could not reduce for her the sanctity of the birthday greeting. 'Tis a day for hugs and kisses. The habit of necessary thrift had sunk deep into her mind.this was the only constituent Mrs Rupa Mehra did not. The fourth corner.in gold.com. was fully ten years younger than she was. It was very rarely that Mrs Rupa Mehra bought a card for anyone. Mrs Rupa Mehra now looked for assistance in building up a rhyming text for her card. descended. even . the northwest corner. Three silver stars were parted from their fellows and pasted (with the help of borrowed glue .would be seen . Postponing the decision of illustration. possibly even an unacceptable motivation. The scissors poised. and these were now pressed into service. The golden numerals were put aside. little silver stars and adhesive golden numerals lay in a variegated trove at the bottom of the largest of her three suitcases. Mrs Rupa Mehra decided. and the 5i accusing '35'. so she made them. carry with her) onto three corners of the front of the folded blank white piece of cardboard. A day for all who love you 第 49 页 共 293 页 http://www. This would not do for Parvati.she would have to sacrifice. In fact she enjoyed the creative challenge of making them. The rose-and-pewter card contained the following lines : May the gladness you have scattered Along life's shining way And the little deeds of kindness That are yours from day to day And the happiness you've showered On others all life through Return to swell your blessings In this birthday hour for you. as she could never cease to remember.or perhaps especially . no matter how close or dear the person was. But now Mrs Rupa Mehra paused . Her stepmother. shreds of ribbon.

To renew their love anew. Who had sent her this card ? Queenie and Pussy Kapadia. was here polished to an even finer lustre. The puppy yapped an unrhymed and therefore unusable text . At the same time the greeting was not accusably distant. two unmarried sisters in their forties whom she had not met for years. Yes! Life's shining way.en8848.com.and began to write. and moved resolutely on. the others: It's not a standard greeting For just one joyful day But a wish that's meant to cover Life's bright and shining way To wish you all the special things That mean the most to you So that this year and every year Your fondest dreams come true. Also. and this presented her in the present instance with a problem. Unmarried ! The very word was like a knell. she would have to alter 'hugs and kisses' to 'special greetings' . She had chosen too large a size of 第 50 页 共 293 页 http://www.a mere 'Happy Birthday and Many Happy Returns' .cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . This showed promise but there was something wrong with the fourth line. And a day for all to tell you : Have the wonderfullest day. Parvati might very well deserve hugs and kisses but Mrs Rupa Mehra was incapable of giving them to her. Nor did the lines commit her to any deep protestation of affection for her father's second wife. a concept dear to Mrs Rupa Mehra. she reflected with a sad smile .twenty-five years old and still going strong. but sentiment marginally distinct from. Mrs Rupa Mehra instinctively felt. She got out her black and gold Mont Blanc fountain pen.but the sheep bleated in rhymes identical to. 53 Mrs Rupa Mehra paused in her thoughts for a moment. A day for sveet reflection Along life's shining way. Mrs Rupa Mehra's handwriting was very small and well-formed. Raghubir's present to her when Arun was born .

Now came the heartbreaking part : not the mere transcription of a stanza but the actual sacrifice of an old card. The dog.en8848. and the three sheared sheep were driven carefully towards new pastures. The first three couplets were therefore laid out with as much white space in between as would not appear too obvious . she added 'est' to the 'Dear'. however appealing his appearance. and the concluding couplet was allowed to crash down with thunderous blandness on the right. They were fluffy and unemotional. About the radiologist. 'To dear Parvati . or any other prospect for Lata. even guilty besides. The roses in the foreground of the old card were preserved for future use. 54 I Rupa. then? He looked mournful. the picture of a dog.a very happy birthday. She did not mind parting with them.' wrote Mrs Rupa Mehra with a dutiful expression. Before she sealed the envelope Mrs Rupa Mehra got out a small writing pad. I have recovered from my journey and remain.yes.on the left hand side. It looked a little cramped now. Your everloving daughter. They did not get the chance to be there. She asked Mansoor for a cup of tea.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . but after Arun's marriage I am capable of considering others. and wrote a few lines to her father : Dearest Baoji. repenting. as you know. She now wished to fill as much space as possible with the rhymed message so that she would not have to inscribe more than a few words in her own right to supplement the verse. and decided to write a 第 51 页 共 293 页 http://www. was open to misinterpretation. -. The sheep perhaps . Mrs Rupa Mehra was a vegetarian. one cannot be choosy. Pran and Savita and Lata were very disappointed. Which of the roses would have to be transplanted ? After some thought. whereas both her father and Parvati were avid meat-eaters. Words cannot express how much happiness it gave me to see you yesterday. an ellipsis of seven dots spoored across the page in a semblance of suspense. Mrs Rupa Mehra decided that she could not bear to part with any of them. much love.com.card in proportion to her affection. Fair or dark. but the silver stars had been stuck and it was too late to change that parameter. but only a careful eye would perceive it as an afterthought. they would do. Then. Rupa The house was quiet. with much affection. please pursue enquiries. but such is life. A good khatri boy would be best of course.

I had the set of cards that Varun gave me for my last birthday in my bag.en8848.letter to Arun. Your grandfather visited yesterday and could have given him some medical advice but unfortunately only I was at home. If you had been there you would have scolded me. the one who was engaged to the army captain but he died in the War. but I could not resist my sweet tooth. Anyway whatever it all was the net result was that we didn't have long at the station and tears rolled down my cheeks due to disappointment. I am suffering some pain in my foot but that is expected. I thought maybe the preparations for the party could have been postponed by ten minutes but it was not to be. The ladies in my Ladies' Reserve compartment were very friendly and we played rummy and three-two-five and had a good chat. My dear Varun also had to go back because he came in your car to see me off. By the way it is the birthday of your step-grandmother next week. Monsoons will be here 第 52 页 共 293 页 http://www. Your Daddy would have been so proud to see you in Bentsen and Pryce. but I must admit I could not resist having some mihidana at Burdwan.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . 56 r Savita is looking very well. and began. 55 My darling Arun. Such is life one doesn't often get the things one wants. I was very sad and upset in Calcutta as we did not have much time to spend at the station together due to the traffic on Strand and Howrah Bridge and you having to leave before the train left because Meenakshi wanted you home early. Meenakshi knows best. and Pran is a first-class husband except for his asthma and most caring. I think that he is having some difficulty with his department but he does not like to talk about it. and now with wife and child. The journey passed peacefully and as planned. Love and kisses to darling Aparna. You don't know how very much you are in my thoughts much more than words can say. and they helped to while away the journey. Whenever I travel I remember our saloon days with your Daddy. I love you lots and wish you all the happiness and success you well deserve. Better late than sorry. Now I only pray for you to get well soon and keep good health wherever you are and have no more trouble with your back so that you can play golf again which you are so fond of. Please give him my love and tell him to study hard in the i good traditions of his father. She unfolded a green inland letter form.com. I hope you are feeling much better and the pain in your back as well as the toothache is much less. If it be God's will we will meet again very soon. One of the ladies knew the Miss Pal we used to visit in Darjeeling. dated it carefully in her minute and lucid script. and maybe you should send her a card.

does not have to be khatri.en8848. the Ganges is not far from the house and Lata also goes walking quite a lot. Unfortunately Pran cannot afford a car on his lecturer's salary and the transport situation is not good. It is quite safe as far as the dhobi-ghat near the university. but I have been thinking a lot about Lata lately. Has Meenakshi had Daddy's gold medals set yet? I like the idea of a neckpendant for one and the lid of a little cardamom-container for the other. I could see how busy you were with work. Another covenanted boy from a good family. would be a dream come true. She is quite afraid of your comments. and (D. sometimes even I am afraid of them. and Mrs Rupa Mehra began to fill in transversely . Also I think it is time for you to help in the matter. my blood sugar level is OK I am sure. As you know. I take a bus or tonga to go here and there and sometimes I walk. I am trying very hard though believe me to rise above all this. she seems to enjoy it.) I will. so I mentioned it very rarely when I was in Calcutta but it was always on my mind. That way you can read what is written on both sides of the medal. I am going to write to Mr Gaur's daughter Kalpana in Delhi . though there is a bit of a monkey menace.V. Now that the college year is almost 57 over Lata will have time. and I have been careful about my diet except for one glass of very sweet nimbu pani when I arrived tired after 第 53 页 共 293 页 http://www. Pran is making me go for a test at the university clinic tomorrow morning. do not be cross with me for what I am saying.in two three months and then my joints will play up.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . Now Arun mine. but she is a sensitive girl and now that she is of marriageable age she is super-sensitive. Soon it will be April and I am afraid I will again be very depressed and lonely at heart because that month will bring back memories of your father's illness and death as if they happened only the other day and it is eight long years that have gone by and so much has happened under the bridge in this period. and I think you should build up her confidence which she is lacking despite her brilliant record of studies.com. I may have many faults but I think I am a loving mother. and I long to see all my children well settled. and may help us find a suitable match for Lata. I know you do not mean to be harsh.the space left blank near the head of the letter : Anyway space is short so my darling Arun I will end now. Do not worry at all about me.she knows everyone. Here the inland letter form ended. I know there are thousands who have had and are having much more to suffer but to every human being one's own sufferings seem the most and I am still very much human and have not risen very much above the usual feelings of sorrow and disappointments.

despite the jackals that bark all night behind your house. You know how worried I have been about Lata this last year or so.my journey.Parker's Quink Royal Washable Blue effectively separated from the other contents of the handbag by several layers of rags and cellophane. Ma Fearing that her pen might run out during the course of her next letter.en8848. Varun is too young to help and is quite unsteady also. and of course to Meenakshi also. A bottle of glue she habitually carried had once leaked from its slit rubber cap with disastrous consequences. Mrs Rupa Mehra opened her handbag and 58 * took out an already opened bottle of ink . Whenever I come to Delhi which is sadly not often of late I feel happy when I am with you. and glue had thenceforth been banished from her handbag. Mrs Rupa Mehra took out another inland letter form. Here she went on to write on the non-adhesive flap : After I have written to Kalpana I will play a game of patience with Varun's cards. and I must look all out for a suitable boy. but ink had so far caused her only minor problems. As you know. he is so occupied with work and family.has been as good to me after his sad demise.who was so close to Uncle during his lifetime . Now the time has come to get Lata well settled. then decided that this would be a false economy in the present case. You my dear Kalpana are a few years older to Lata and I hope you can suggest some suitable names among your old college 第 54 页 共 293 页 http://www. You have always been like a daughter to me so I will speak from the heart. Yours everloving. Lots and lots of love to you and to Varun and a big hug and lots of kisses to my little sweetheart Aparna. since your Uncle Raghubir died I have had a hard time in many ways.com. and your father . and began writing on a wellhusbanded pad of cream-coloured cambric bond : Dearest Kalpana.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . Arun should shoulder some responsibility in the matter but you know how it is. and since your dear mother passed away I have felt like a mother to you.

I have taken your J advice and had new glasses made and can read and|H write without strain. folded it neatly in four. licked it thoughtfully. When Mansoor came in to take away the tea and to do the accounts. I will be here ?throughout March and April. V Ma (Mrs Rupa Mehra) m p. It was a warm afternoon. She fished out a stamp from her bag. and wrote Kalpana's address (from memory) as well as Fran's address on the back. Divali would be better than New Year for us to come to Delhi. and sealed it in a matching envelope. but in a different way I also feel that 'tis better to have loved and lost etc.com.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . he found she had dozed off over a game of patience. stuck it on the envelope. I wish you could have come to their wedding but what with Pimmy's appendix operation I % can understand. maybe even in May till I Lata's results for this year are out. 第 55 页 共 293 页 http://www. Lata sometimes comes up with the idea that she ?will not get married.or in December in the ChristmasNew Year holidays . I was worried to know she had not been well. H Yours ever. Not that love is always an unmixed blessing. After a while she took out the pack of playing cards from her bag. because it fits in better with my annual travel plans.s. Then she closed her eyes and sat perfectly still for a few minutes. I hope you will cure her of such *| theories. I hope it is all resolved now.friends or others in Delhi. I am in good health and my blood sugar is fine. Lovingly. All is well but 59 the heat is already very delapidating and I am dreading April-May-June. Ma Mrs Rupa Mehra looked over her letter (and her signature .en8848. jB With fondest love. Do please say what you think ? How is your dear father ? I am writing from Brahmpur where I am staying with Savita and Pran. ? Please write soonest to this address. I know how you feel about early marriage after what happened with your engagement. p.Lata and I can come to Delhi to look into things? I only mention this to mention it. but whichever time you say is fine.s.she insisted on all young people calling her Ma). Maybe in October in the Divali holidays .

Lata went for poetry. but both (despite their prosperous roundness) so energetic and entrepreneurial that it apparently made no difference. and were extremely helpful to their customers. both almost illiterate in English. she paused by the 61 f science shelves. Yashwant and Balwant.15 THE IMPERIAL BOOK DEPOT was one of the two best bookshops in town. not because she understood much science. known to university students as 'ganjing'. The Imperial Book Depot was run by two brothers. Malati headed straight for the novels. Many of them resented the University and Allied Bookshop for its entrenched. they were drawn magnetically in. but. They had the best stock in town. because she did not. Twice a week an impoverished university student was paid to sort new arrivals onto the designated shelves. sat them down with a cup of tea and a couple of publishers' lists. Though it was a couple of miles away from the university proper it had a greater following among students and teachers than the University and Allied Bookshop. And since the bookshop prided itself on its academic as well as general stock. rather. She enjoyed the 第 56 页 共 293 页 http://www. After classes.com. both dressed casually in their usual salwaarkameez. Each wandered off to her favourite shelves and subjects. the fashionable street that was the last bulwark of modernity before the labyrinthine alleys and ancient. she felt a sense of wonder at the great territories of learning that lay beyond her .I 4 60 1. cluttered neighbourhoods of Old Brahmpur. however. they asked the customer himself to write down its name on the appropriate order form. Whenever she opened a scientific book and saw whole paragraphs of incomprehensible words and symbols. which was just a few minutes away from campus.en8848.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . unresponsive and high-handed ways. On the way.the sum of so many noble and purposive attempts to make objective sense of the world. and made them tick off titles that they thought the bookshop should consider ordering. This activity. As they passed the Imperial Book Depot. Lata and Malati. the proprietors unashamedly collared university teachers who wandered in to browse. they could afford to indulge in about once a week. lethargic. and was located on Nabiganj. These teachers were happy to ensure that books they needed for their courses would be readily available to their students. went to Nabiganj to wander around and have a cup of coffee at the Blue Danube coffee house. If a book was not available in the shop.

We also recall that r. and the tables were turned. It was a Penguin : Contemporary Verse. and that if z' = x' + iy'.z' is the distance between z and z'. Lata felt that his eyes were on her from time to time.who was even busiet than she was . and was glancing through the anthologies. What exactly it was that pleased her in these sentences she did not know. inevitability. He was pleasantly startled. she looked up.en8848. With these preliminaries we may proceed to the proof of the theorem. whatever she thought of love itself. liked love poetry. not aware of her surroundings. and this afternoon she was feeling serious. unintentionally. because a few minutes later Lata was aware that he had shifted his attention to the poetry shelves. And this was how a young man. it suited her serious moods. 'We also recall' and 'with these preliminaries' drew her into a cornpact with the author of these verities and mysteries. It was at the insistence of Malati . rather aquiline. written |z|. z?will describe n complete times a circle of radius m as z describes its circle once. gives the distance of z from O. The tall young man. and after a few moments. the modulus of z. She could not resist glancing at the cover of his book. but with exams coming up she had very little time for anything. She hoped that her brief words to him the day after the wedding had done him some good. 'Maud' was one of her favourite poems. She began to flip through a volume of Tennyson.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . Lata. She smiled to herself now. comfort. was included.that she had gone ganjing at all. She read the paragraph again. Lata frowned at him and looked down at the page again. and smiled back at her. Still holding the book. But she could not concentrate on it. This annoyed her and she did not look up. and she could proceed from there. then |z . and therefore reassuring: things were what they were even in this uncertain world.com.feeling. she did. if we allow complex number z to describe a circle of radius r about the origin. She picked up a random book and read a random paragraph : It follows from De Moivre's formula that z?= m (cos n + i sin n). he said : 'It's unusual for 第 57 页 共 293 页 http://www. The words were assured. seemed to be as interested in poetry as in mathematics. who had been standing not far from 62 her. in her smile. who had (Lata noticed) slightly wavy black hair and very good. She should have written to him more often to bolster his courage. looking serious. When. Her mind strayed to Varun and his mathematical studies. but they conveyed weight. He now looked up. looks. despite herself. Before she could glance down again. replaced it on the shelf before making her way to Poetry. Thus. she noticed him innocently immersed in his reading.

someone to be interested in both poetry and mathematics.' 'Is that so ?' said Lata severely. 'Courant and Robbins - it's an excellent work.' 'Oh ?' said Lata. Then, realizing that the young man was referring to the mathematics book she had picked randomly off the shelf, she said, 'Is it?' by way of closure. But the young man was eager to continue the conversation. 'My father says so,' he went on. 'Not as a text but as a broad introduction to various, well, facets of the subject. He teaches maths at the university.' Lata looked around to see if Malati was listening. But Malati was intent on her browsing in the front of the shop. Nor was anyone else eavesdropping; the shop was not busy at this time of year - or this time of day. 'Actually, I'm not interested in mathematics,' said Lata with an air of finality. The young man looked a little downcast before he rallied and confided, genially: 'You know, nor am I. I'm a history student myself.' Lata was amazed at his determination and, looking straight at him, said, 'I must go now. My friend is waiting for me.' Even as she was saying this, however, she could not help noticing how sensitive, even vulnerable, this wavyhaired young man looked. This appeared to contradict his determined, bold behaviour in speaking to an unknown, unintroduced, girl in a bookshop. 'I'm sorry, I suppose I've been disturbing you ?' he apologized, as if reading her thoughts. 'No,' said Lata. She was about to go to the front of the shop when he added quickly, with a nervous smile, 'In that case, may I ask you your name ?' 'Lata,' said Lata shortly, though she didn't see the logic of 'in that case'. 'Aren't you going to ask me mine?' asked the young man, his smile broadening amiably. 'No,' said Lata, quite kindly, and rejoined Malati, who had a couple of paperback novels in her hand. 'Who's he ?' whispered Malati conspiratorially.
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'Just someone,' said Lata, glancing back a bit anxiously. 'I don't know. He just came up to me and began a conversation. Hurry up. Let's go. I'm feeling hungry. And thirsty. It's hot in here.' The man at the counter was looking at Lata and Malati with the energetic friendliness he showered on regular customers. The little finger of his left hand was searching for wax in the crevices of his ear. He shook his head with reproving benevolence and said in Hindi to Malati: 'Exams are coming up, Malatiji, and you are still buying novels ? Twelve annas plus one rupee four annas makes two rupees altogether. I should not allow this. You are like daughters to me.' 'Balwantji, you would go out of business if we did not read your novels. We are sacrificing our examination results at the altar of your prosperity,' said Malati. 'I'm not,' said Lata. The young man must have disap64 peared behind a bookshelf, because she couldn't see him anywhere. 'Good girl, good girl,' said Balwant, possibly referring to both of them. 'Actually, we were going to get some coffee and came into your shop unplanned,' said Malati, 'so I didn't bring - ' She left the sentence unfinished and flung a winning smile at Balwant. 'No, no, that is not necessary - you can give it later,' said Balwant. He and his brother extended terms of easy credit to many students. When asked whether this wasn't bad for business, they would reply that they had never lost money trusting anyone who bought books. And, certainly, they were doing very well for themselves. They reminded Lata of the priests of a well-endowed temple. The reverence with which the brothers treated their books supported the analogy. 'Since you suddenly feel famished, we are going straight to the Blue Danube,' said Malati decisively once they were outside the shop. 'And there you will tell me exactly what happened between that Cad and you.' 'Nothing,' said Lata. 'Hah!' said Malati in affectionate scorn. 'So what did you two talk about ?' 'Nothing,' said Lata. 'Seriously, Malati, he just came up and started talking
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nonsense, and I said nothing in reply. Or monosyllables. Don't add chillies to boiled potatoes.' They continued to stroll down Nabiganj. 'Quite tall,' said Malati, a couple of minutes later. Lata said nothing. 'Not exactly dark,' said Malati. Lata did not think this was worth responding to either. 'Dark', as she understood it, referred in novels to hair, not skin. 'But very handsome,' persisted Malati. Lata made a wry face at her friend, but she was, to her own surprise, quite enjoying her description. 'What's his name ?' continued Malati. 65 'I don't know,' said Lata, looking at herself in the glass front of a shoe shop. Malati was astonished at Lata's ineptness. 'You talked to him for fifteen minutes and you don't know his name ?' 'We did not talk for fifteen minutes,' said Lata. 'And I hardly talked at all. If you're so keen on him, why don't you go back to the Imperial Book Depot and ask him his name ? Like you, he has no compunctions about talking to anyone.' ]

'So you don't like him ?' 1 Lata was silent. Then she said, 'No, I don't. I've noJ reason to like him.' 1 'It's not all that easy for men to talk to us, you know,1! said Malati. 'We shouldn't be so hard on them.' ' 'Malati defending the weaker sex!' said Lata. 'I never thought I'd see the day.' 'Don't change the subject,' said Malati. 'He didn't seem the brazen type. I know. Trust my five-hundredfold experience.'
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Lata flushed. 'It seemed pretty easy for him to talk to me,' she said. 'As if I was the sort of girl who ? 'Who what?' 'Who can be talked to,' ended Lata uncertainly. Visions of her mother's disapproval floated across her mind. She made an cf 顄 ru ro push these away. 'Well,' said Malati, a little more quietly than usual as they entered the Blue Danube, 'he really does have nice looks.' They sat down. 'Nice hair,' continued Malati, surveying the menu. 'Let's order,' said Lata. Malati appeared to be in love with the word 'nice'. They ordered coffee and pastries. 'Nice eyes,' said Malati, five minutes later, laughing now at Lata's studied unresponsiveness. Lata remembered the young man's temporary nervousness when she had looked straight at him. 'Yes,' she agreed. 'But so what? I have nice eyes too, and one pair is enough.'

66 1.16 WHILE his mother-in-law was playing patience and his sister-in-law was fending off Malati's leading questions, Dr Pran Kapoor, that first-class husband and son-in-law, was battling with the departmental problems he was reticent about burdening his family with. Pran, though a calm man by and large, and a kind man, regarded the head of the English Department, Professor Mishra, with a loathing that made him almost ill. Professor O.P. Mishra was a huge, pale, oily hulk, political and manipulative to the very depths of his being. The four members of the syllabus committee of the English Department were seated this afternoon around an oval table in the staff room. It was an unusually warm day. The single window was open (to the view of a dusty laburnum tree), but there was no breeze; everyone looked uncomfortable, but Professor Mishra was sweating in profuse drops that gathered
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on his forehead, wet his thin eyebrows, and trickled down the sides of his large nose. His lips were sweetly pursed and he was saying in his genial, highpitched voice, 'Dr Kapoor, your point is well taken, but I think that we will need a little convincing.' The point was the inclusion of James Joyce on the syllabus for the paper on Modern British Literature. Pran Kapoor had been pressing this on the syllabus committee for two terms - ever since he had been appointed a member - and at last the committee had decided to agree whether to consider it. Why, Pran wondered, did he dislike Professor Mishra so intensely ? Although Pran had been appointed to his lectureship five years ago under the headship of his predecessor, Professor Mishra, as a senior member of the department, must have had a say in hiring him. When he first came to the department, Professor Mishra had gone out of his way to be gracious to him, even inviting him to tea at his house. Mrs Mishra was a small, busy, worried woman, and Pran had liked her. But despite Professor Mishra's open-armed avuncularity, his Falstaffian bulk and charm, 67 Pran detected something dangerous: his wife and two young sons were, so it seemed to him, afraid of their father. Pran had never been able to understand why people loved power, but he accepted it as a fact of life. His own father, for instance, was greatly attracted by it : his enjoyment in its exercise went beyond the pleasure of being able to realize his ideological principles. Mahesh Kapoor enjoyed being Revenue Minister, and he would probably be happy to become either Chief Minister of Purva Pradesh or a Minister in Prime Minister Nehru's Cabinet in Delhi. The headaches, the overwork, the responsibility, the lack of control over one's own time, the complete absence of opportunity to contemplate the world from a calm vantage point: these mattered little to him. Perhaps it was true to say that Mahesh Kapoor had contemplated the world sufficiently long from the calm vantage point of his cell in a prison in British India, and now required what he had in fact acquired: an intensely active role in running things. It was almost as if father and son had exchanged between themselves the second and third stages of the accepted Hindu scheme of life: the father was entangled in the world, the son longed to separate himself into a life of philosophical detachment. Pran, however, whether he liked it or not, was what the scriptures would call a householder. He enjoyed Savita's company, he basked in her warmth and care and beauty, he looked forward to the birth of their child. He was determined not to depend on his father for financial support, although the small salary of a department lecturer zoo rupees per month - was barely enough to subsist on 'to
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He wanted to see certain things done.en8848. And. Pran did not care about titular prestige. and it would be a step up in terms of the academic hierarchy. Mishra had got under his skin in a way Pran had not been able to envisage.' said Pran.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . 'As you can see. I am sure. 'wouldn't it be better if we were to concentrate on Joyce for the moment ? We will take up Lawrence at our session next month before we adjourn for the summer vacation. He had studied patience. and caused him pain and incapacitation. You have read my note on the subject' . and I am delighted that it has been placed second on the agenda today and has at last come up for discussion. on the table and said. but he realized that designations helped one's designs. He then placed his huge white hands. not on this agenda. appreciate that there is nothing radical in my suggestion.' He smiled at Pran sweetly. we have twenty-one writers whose works we consider it essential for our B. surely. and his eyes twinkled. but the path itself had been difficult. This was the simple logic of it. as he told himself in moments of cynicism. no Lawrence. These two writers -' 'Wouldn't it be better.'and you will. but he had also learned that merit was only one criterion among several. Dr Kapoor. My main argument is quite simple.' He looked down at the pale blue type of the cyclostyled sheets before him. palms down. He believed that he deserved the 68 job.com.subside on'.P. and being a reader would help him do them. But there is no Joyce. looking around the table for support. But Professor O. Excitement disturbed his breathing. 'Professor Mishra. 'But what were you saying when I so rudely interrupted ?' 第 63 页 共 293 页 http://www. His experience of the recurrent asthmatic illness that had afflicted him since childhood had made him calm.' said Pran. the salary attached to that post was less pitiful. Dr Narayanan was about to say something when Professor Mishra pointed out : 'But not on this agenda.' 'The two matters are interlinked.he nodded around the table to Dr Gupta and Dr Narayanan . 'I am pleased that the committee has decided to consider this proposal. I might add. wiping an eyelash away from the corner of his eye.A students to read in order for them to obtain a proper understanding of Modern British Literature. But he had applied for a readership that had recently fallen open in the department. and by slow practice he had become patient. and he had therefore almost dispensed with excitability.' interrupted Professor Mishra.

He is. the subject of increasing academic study in ] America. but I am not. as it were.' He remembered his first introduction to Joyce: a friend had lent him Ulysses a month before his Ph.' continued Professor Mishra. ' 揟 he Dead?' said Dr Narayanan. 'But' .D. as if applauding a small child.and his voice assumed a cutting edge . 'perhaps it is because we hear a different drummer. There is the worse than unreadable Finnegans Wake. oral examination at Allahabad University and he had. bald head almost approvingly. 'each point in the universe must make up its own mind on the question of acknowledgement before acknowledgement can be considered to be universal.' he said. 'If we do not keep pace with our companions. 'That is a good point.' Pran looked at him gratefully. I may look thin and fit.' he said judiciously.'there is more to Joyce than 揟 he Dead? There is the unreadable Ulysses. Dr Narayanan looked at him and came out suddenly in unexpected support.en8848. 'Very good. 'A fine story. has a great deal of stamina. I read it twice. and thought. Pran looked down at the table and said quietly: 'I say Joyce is a great writer because I believe he is a great writer. What do you say. who was a Romantic Revivalist. He smiled around the table. It encourages them. We should hesitate before we blindly allow the American dissertation mill to order our priorities. We in India pride ourselves on our Independence an Independence won at great expense by the best men of several generations. a fact I need not emphasize to the illustrious son of an even more illustrious father.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 .com. for all his slug-like pallor and bulk. not because of what the Americans say.' he added. as a result.Pran looked at the large white hands emanating from 69 the grand pulp of Professor Mishra's round body. and this man. This kind of writing is unhealthy for our students. for 1 instance. ignored his own subject to the point where he had jeopardized his academic career. I do think he should be on our syllabus too. To quote an American. in sloppy and ungrammatical writing. seemed to look deep into his soul for a few seconds. Professor Mishra looked at Dr Narayanan's small. Dr Narayanan ?' Dr Narayanan. very good. writer. Let us step to the music that we hear.' the high voice responded. we in India. And what about the ending of Ulysses? There are young and impressionable women whom in 第 64 页 共 293 页 http://www. This is now universally acknowledged.' * 'Dr Kapoor. If I am to get agreement on this measure I must remain calm and collected. shaking his head sideways for emphasis. and said: 'Joyce is a great .

is indispensable. Dr Gupta. James Elroy Flecker.' said Pran without a moment's hesitation. Dr Kapoor. you are angry. the ignominy of being known to have turned Joyce down (as opposed to merely having deferred the decision indefinitely) would be something that the committee would not be willing to face. Have you heard That silence where the birds are dead yet something pipeth like a bird ? 7i James Elroy Flecker. And when a post falls open. 'Ah. If Joyce goes in. of all the deserving candidates only one can be selected.your charming sisterin-law for example. Professor Mishra laughed indulgently. 'A democracy. so.' said Professor Mishra playfully. Dr Kapoor . We may disagree of course. Dr Narayanan looked interested. thought Pran. There can be only one head of department. Dr Kapoor. but India is a democracy and we can speak our minds?' He stopped for a few seconds.' Surely. turned his palms up on the table to display 第 65 页 共 293 页 http://www. 'If Fletcher Flecker . We are already hardpressed to teach twenty-one writers in the time we allot to this paper. what comes out ?' 'Flecker. Does he believe this ? he thought. Does he really believe what he is implying ? Aloud he said. who was mainly interested in AngloSaxon and Middle English. It is heartening.Professor Mishra looked over at the rank-conscious reader. and stared out of the window at the dusty laburnum. Do not get angry. well. 'Yes. Dr Kapoor ? he intoned. for example. But even democracies are faced with hard choices. or pass not singing.' That seemed to settle it in his mind. I would be pleased to put it to the committee for a vote.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . Would you put a book like Ulysses into her hands ?' Professor Mishra smiled benignly. 'It is heartening to come across a young man . I suggest we include Joyce as our twenty-second writer. Dr Gupta . You want to pin us down.'who is so. Fran's face became completely impassive.en8848. direct in his opinions and so willing to share them with his colleagues.a young lecturer' . He . 'Ah.com. shall I say. Yes.our courses it is our responsibility to introduce to the higher things of life. O Caravan. 'Pass not beneath. looked at his nails. however senior they may be.' said Pran simply.

As Professor Mishra poured coffee into his cup.I peon did so in the usual manner.) Professor Mishra continued: 'I will now order! coffee. 'But we did not agree to decide the matter at 1 this meeting. 'but that line of argument may be taken by those of us not well-versed in the finer forms of parliamentary byplay to be a species of quibbling. Then Professor Mishra was offered coffee. and the peon moved the tray backwards. 'Is coffee ready ?' asked Professor Mishra in Hindi.his owni helplessness. and the peon moved the tray forward.' 'A species of quibbling ?a species of quibbling. But it was the English Department of Brahmpur University . Professor Mishra clapped his hands. a bowl of sugar.' 'Good.' Professor Mishra appeared delighted by the phrase. a small jug of hot milk. Professor Mishra. if it had only been some other department at some other university. Professor Mishra indicated that he should serve the others first.' Professor Mishra indicated that it should be served. The peon brought in a tray with a coffee pot. thoughts Pran. and four cups.en8848. thought Pran. j 'Please do not misunderstand me. the peon moved the tray deferentially backwards.' 1 This was too much for Pran in his present mood. only to decide whether to decide it.' he ' said. while both his colleagues looked appalled at Pran's insubordination. and a lean peon in a threadbare green uniform came in. Professor Mishra made to set down the coffee pot. though 1 he knew it was true. The 72. Sahib.com. 第 66 页 共 293 页 http://www. and we will collect ourselves and approach the issues calmly. And so on for each of three spoons of sugar. this display of the naked gradient of power and obsequiousness between the department head and the department peon.' Dr Narayanan perked up at the prospect of coffee.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . 'Yes. Professor Mishra picked up the milk jug and began to add milk to his coffee. as it were. It was like a comic ballet. It would have been merely ridiculous.and it was through this man that Pran had to apply to the selection committee for the readership he both wanted and needed. (This is like playing bridge with two dummies.

i. and then to the Ganges flowing close by the house. Does he loathe me ? No. 第 67 页 共 293 页 http://www. as rigid ? How will I be able to live in Brahmpur all my life? And Mishra will doubtless give me an excellent report just to see the back of me. he thought. charming. At least I haven't had a bronchial attack. It read simply : Present: Professor O. rather than the Ganga.com. let my country awake. her mother .B. as the junior member of the committee. Kapoor.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . that is his strength: he doesn't. as silly. Are things as closed-minded in the capital? he asked himself. even if he had given him almost no time or company when he was younger. to Savita. her sister. How will I be able to put up with him for so long ? A sudden murderous impulse seized Pran. Mishra (head) .he has two more years until he retires. Gupta. Where the mind is led forward by Thee into ever-widening thought and action Into that heaven of freedom. His mind wandered back home. At least his own mortal father had given him principles.R. thought Pran. A few well-known lines from Tagore came into his head in Tagore's own English translation : Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit. As mad. (When he thought in English. why have I transformed him in my mind into such a caricature of a villain ? thought Pran looking into his cup. then upstream past Banaras till it divided at Allahabad.This same man whom in my first term I considered jovial. he said to himself.) He followed it first downstream to Patna and Calcutta. For him all this is like a game of chess . whom murderous impulses never seized. He just wants his own way. my Father. He looked down at the pad on which he. expansive. as mean. and we will get nowhere. He is fifty-eight .en8848. it was the Ganges. bluff. Dr R. And all this over Joyce. and he realized his hands were trembling slightly.the family that he had taken into his heart and that had taken him into theirs.P. Dr P. was taking the minutes of the meeting. there he chose the Yamuna and followed it to Delhi. to the small whitewashed house. Dr T. to him. In effective politics hatred is just not useful. Narayanan. 73 We have got nowhere. The Minutes of the last meeting were read and approved.on a slightly vibrating board.

17 BUT now Dr Gupta was laughing at a remark of Dr Narayanan's.' said Professor Mishra. expended enough time on item two. of course. difficult for B. without prejudice to items five. with his control over the agenda and the pacing of a meeting. depend upon other departments agreeing to our proposals. could in the circumstances gather even more effective power into his hands. wind up the meeting.consensus is the goal. His ability to get speakers on Old and Middle English invited to the departmental seminar depended upon Professor Mishra's goodwill: outside speakers entailed incidental 第 68 页 共 293 页 http://www.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . like departmental committees of any kind. that they eliminate too detailed a study of traditional figures of speech for the paper in Literary Theory and Criticism. University statutes required that the syllabus committee. And finally. would the committee agree to include Dubliners on the syllabus as a first step? Dr Gupta. 'I think we have now collected ourselves.' Pran looked at the twinkling eyes. 'And then we have the question of symmetrical auxiliaries proposed by the junior member of the committee.A students. as head of the department. ha. committees were more reluctant than ever to bring things to the climax of a vote.' But Pran was unwilling to be dissuaded from pressing on with the unresolved question of Joyce. well. appointed the members of each committee within his purview in such a way as always to include someone who for reasons of health or research was likely to be indisposed or absent. the great nose. should consist of an odd number of members. and Professor Mishra was saying.1. But Professor Mishra. If I were willing to accept that Ulysses might be a bit. put forward by himself. We can take up those items next month.en8848. 'and can approach the issue under discussion quite calmly. as it were. 'Consensus . And the head. and seven.' continued Professor Mishra. since the shades of night are falling.com. so we are only four. the sweetly pursed lips with reluctant admiration.how can we vote when we might be divided two votes against two? There were five Pandavas. With an even number of members present. They 74 even took a wife by consensus. 'I think we have. 'Shall we go on to chiasmus and anacoluthia ?' He was referring to a proposal. ha ! And Dr Varma is indisposed as usual. what do you think ?' 75 Dr Gupta looked up at the slowly circulating fan. the civilized goal .' he said. Though this will. 'I think we should. they could have voted if they chose. six. ha. but even they did everything by consensus.

not looking at Professor Mishra : '?and.com. 'Dr Leavis. as we know. I mean that. whatever that might have been. Pran gazed out of the window. to include them in our canon. We need the distance of time objectively to appraise the stature of modern writers. because Professor Mishra felt compelled to explain: 'This is not altogether a matter for surprise. 'I would be willing -' But he was swiftly interrupted in his sentence. 'something that even I. Dr Kapoor ?when did Joyce die ?' '1941. if I may say so.' Professor Mishra expostulated. So if we -' 'That. 76 I Joyce has a better claim as a British writer in Modern British Literature than Eliot.' said Pran quietly.' cut in Professor Mishra. of course. He went on.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . then pursed his lips together.' This was news to Pran. Dr Gupta knew as well as anyone what 'as a first step' implied. 'could be 第 69 页 共 293 页 http://www. He opened his mouth slightly. His finger moved down the agenda. as it were. It was getting dark and the leaves of the laburnum now looked cool. It was clear that the great white whale had known this all along. He looked up at Pran and said. looking at the list of prescribed authors. Eliot. by tradition. the Modern British Literature paper does not include writers who were living at the time of the Second World War. is still alive. The jolly twinkle appeared again in his eyes. 'We are forgetting. there you are ? said Professor Mishra helplessly. I must admit.expenses. greatly approves of Lawrence too ' 'We have agreed to discuss Lawrence next time. and funds had to be approved by the head of the department. even Dr Leavis -' Professor Mishra clearly responded to a different drummer from the Americans. besides.we have objective criteria enough in his case . my young friend. The head of the department looked as if he had been slapped across the face. Do remind me. Aloud he said.why. 'Well. surely . did not bear in mind earlier in this discussion. not dusty.' said Pran sharply.en8848.' Professor Mishra cut in. who must have looked astonished. 'But Eliot. 'Eliot. reflected Pran.

' said Dr Narayanan with the faintest of responding smiles. the head of the department gathered together the reins of the meeting. 第 70 页 共 293 页 http://www. unlike Joyce. Pran thought. But we are now living in 1951. The great soft hands scuttled across the cyclostyled sheets. What is it about Eliot. his mind wandering from the subject at hand. I've won. As if nothing in the least untoward had occurred. I am delighted. Eliot. I've won. that makes him such a sacred cow for us Indian intellectuals ? Aloud he said: 'Let us hope that T. I think so.' He was recovering quickly from his shock. he did not die in 1941.S.' He smiled: 'Dr Narayanan. I should say that I personally have 77 always greatly admired James Joyce as a writer. are you for 揟 he Dead??' 'Yes. Dr Gupta could not look Professor Mishra in the eye. to be less sceptical. before Professor Mishra could interrupt. even if it is a tradition. then paused and began again : 'But before we go on to the next item. In a minute he would be quoting Prufrock. thought Pran irrelevantly.or.' Pran paused. has been granted a waiver. Everyone knew that the approval of the Academic Council of the university was usually a formality once the syllabus committee of a department had decided matters. which implies that the pre-war rule you mentioned. I can't believe it. needless to say -' A couple of lines of poetry came terrifyingly unbidden to Fran's mind : Pale hands I loved beside the Shalimar.considered a species of quibbling. There was silence for a few seconds. why not update it ? Surely its purpose is that we should revere the dead above the living . well. then added : 'As it were. If we can't do away with it. 'The next item ? said Professor Mishra with a smile. 'Dr Gupta ?' asked Pran. Eliot has many more years of life. I can't believe it. who is alive. I propose we grant Joyce one.' said Professor Gupta. it seemed that he had. 'I agree with Dr Narayanan. could not be a very ancient one. I am glad that.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 .com. appraise the dead before the living.en8848. And indeed. A friendly compromise. of productive life.

which went on for twenty seconds and ended in a spasm of coughing.it was difficult for Professor Mishra entirely to disguise the active dislike in his high voice.to join the student welfare committee of the university ' Oh no. my dear Dr Kapoor. thought Pran.' muttered Pran as he recovered.it's our turn. and so on ' said Professor Mishra. There was no real disagreement.I was overcome .cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . 'I realize you are busy. Dr Gupta was thumping him vigorously on the back.' Oh. my dear fellow .five years is not a long time from the perspective of an old fogey like me . there goes one day every week. The meeting was resumed and the next two points discussed quickly.com.they were now walking across the campus . the specious twinkle. Don't tire yourself out 第 71 页 共 293 页 http://www. intellectual and otherwise.en8848. which was not helpful. He bent his head and tears streamed down his cheeks. As Pran left the room Professor Mishra put a friendly arm around his shoulder. But you are comparatively new here.' I didn't know the verb was transitive. to the head of the English Department. the Colloquium. oh. 78 I putting on plays. '?and I have decided to volunteer you. what is he up to now ? thought Pran. 'You are clearly a man of great integrity.it sometimes happens ' But to offer any further explanation was impossible. sorry. It was dark now. the Debating Society. Professor Mishra continued : 'The Proctor has been badgering me since last Tuesday to submit a member of my department . incomprehensible even to himself. Cut down on your unacademic activities. and that. thought Pran. Pran could almost see the pursed lips. that was a fine performance. 'My dear boy. implied acceptance.and you must allow me to give you a word of advice.' Pran shuddered at the memory.Where are you now ? Who lies beneath your spell ? and he burst into a fit of sudden laughter. the meeting was adjourned. 'Sorry. He was silent. In the darkness . 'The sort of thing that makes one deservedly popular with students. what with your extra tutorials. you know . Professor Mishra rewarded him with a look of unfeigned fury and hatred. 'Please continue .

thought Pran. however. 'A wonderful book. I must rig this somehow before I allow it to meet But Pran got no further clues to the inner working of that mysterious intelligence. And your future. It was Thomas Mann's Buddenbrooks. 79 1. say. Arun's wife.en8848. as sharp as those of her mother. delighted though he normally was with her. had the irksome habit of throwing an improving book her way now and then. a crowd that Meenakshi felt convinced could not possibly be more interested than she was in Buddenbrooks or any other such clotted Germanic construct. She didn't know how she was going to get through another five pages of it.unnecessarily.18 MEENAKSHI. for instance. Aparna was looking even more pretty than usual: round and fair and black-haired with gorgeous eyes. there he could have brought up all kinds of objections to students I wanted to bring in if they weren't selected entirely on the basis of merit. and Meenakshi felt his suggestions were more in the way of subtle commands. As for the university's selection committee for the readership in English. But I being young and foolish with her did not agree. was feeling utterly bored. in the company of the oddly flippant crowd they mixed with. to regret all that. and it was unutterably dull.' Some of the others. with expressions of great mutual respect. But at least his presence here has kept him from working mischief in. He imagined his thoughts went something like this: I should never have got this uppity young lecturer onto the syllabus committee.in this matter of the readership. ? Arun would say some evening. '?I have been reading this marvellous book by Mann. laughing.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . the admissions committee . Arun. But was Professor Mishra more dangerous or less dangerous to him . they parted from each other. I'm sure your charming wife would endorse that. so she decided to have her daughter Aparna brought to her.' But I am only my metaphorical enemy. and I'm now getting Meenakshi involved in it. Meenakshi pressed the electric buzzer twice (the signal for the child's ayah) and looked at the book in her lap. 第 72 页 共 293 页 http://www. I dare say? In some ways you are your own worst enemy.com. now that Pran had won his hatred ? What was Professor Mishra thinking. wondered Pran. For at this point the paths of the two colleagues diverged and. It's too late. Don't take things so seriously. What were those wonderful lines of Yeats? She bid me take life easy as the leaves grown on the tree. And obstinacy on my part has earned me the actual enmity of the formidable Professor Mishra. Don't drive yourself so hard your health depends on it.

' said Meenakshi. turned creakingly to fulfil her mistress's behest. the ayah. 'but Mummy had to see you.' Aparna was wearing a mauve dress of flouncy fluffy stuff and was looking.en8848. and the topic would pass to office matters or the social world or racing or dancing or golf or the Calcutta Club or complaints about 'these bloody politicians' or 'these brainless bureaucrats'. Shireen. Aparna was fetched. 'that I think I will have a whole line of little girls? Aparna. Meenakshi said.com. and Thomas Mann would be quite forgotten.especially the languid Billy Irani. although she could understand no English. and how pleasant it was to live in this nice flat in Sunny Park. She had been having her afternoon nap. and she had only to look languidly at the languid Billy for Arun to start smouldering somewhere deep inside. and yawned as she was brought in to her mother. upon hearing her name spoken. would look from Arun to Meenakshi in momentary wonderment.yes . Shireen for her part occasionally sighed amidst her cocktails and announced that Billy was incorrigible. inexcusably enchanting. thought Meenakshi.' Miriam. 'Mummy!' said Aparna in English. How wonderful Arun was. and Charulata. grinned at the child with toothless goodwill. but that made no difference to Arun. and why did they have to have all these furious tiffs? Arun was incredibly hotheaded and jealous. and it seemed to make Arun happy to see her do so.and now on the other side. Come and give . Meenakshi's eyes went to her dressing-table mirror and she noticed with a surge of joy what a wonderful mother-and-child pair they made. not far from her father's house on Ballygunge Circular Road. 'Baby lao!' in a kind of pidgin Hindi. 'I'm sleepy. thought her mother. and -' 第 73 页 共 293 页 http://www. Her small fists were rubbing her eyes. she was so bored. most of whose reactions were slow. and Bibeka. 'I know.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . Meenakshi reflected. But Meenakshi would now feel obliged to read enough of the book to convey an acquaintance with its contents. It might be wonderful to have a smouldering husband in bed later. 'You are looking so lovely. The aged ayah. who suspected Meenakshi (quite correctly) of harbouring a casual lust for his friend.' she informed Aparna. Billy Irani had a girlfriend. but such advantages did not come unadulterated. Sometimes Arun would go off into a smouldering sulk. and Miriam woke me up. and was quite spoilt for lovemaking. 80 VV. When the ayah arrived in answer to the bell. precious baby doll.

and what's my fate ? Every Mehra on my plate. buying those items that one simply couldn't trust the servant or the ayah to buy. foreign butter. This last she found especially difficult. 'now that Savita's married. Meenakshi looked at Aparna and sighed. This was her and Arun's private abbreviation for the ayah and Meenakshi laughed with pleasure as she remembered the occasion over the breakfast table when Arun had turned from the Statesman crossword to say. Aparna. parttime sweeper.' Arun had said just recently. The elder daughter of Mr Justice Chatterji had always had everything done for her and she was now discovering how trying it could be to handle things on her own. darling. 'Dudh lao.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . Ek dum !' And Miriam creaked off to get a glass of milk for the little girl. doing the accounts. Managing the staff (ayah.' Miriam had been the T. 'Now have 81 your milk. living among so many opinionated personalities. that's one less. had quite early developed a powerful vocabulary. 'I will throw it straight into the waste-paper basket. who was on the company payroll) . Arun had frowned.' 'Oh.com.en8848. She had been brought up in some luxury. 'Well. and in conditional sentences at that. and though she had insisted (against her parents' advice) on the romantic adventure of standing after marriage entirely on their own four feet. do get the toothless crone out of the room.' said Meenakshi. Living with Arun was full of sudden delightful moments like that. If only it could all be that way. thought Meenakshi. 'If another baby comes into this house. He had been reminded once again of the fact that 第 74 页 共 293 页 http://www. Arun supervised the driver. you'll agree.C ever since.' announced Aparna. more than a little startled. servant-cum-cook.Here she was cut off by Aparna's glare.' she told Aparna. 'Oh. But the trouble was that she also had to run the house. She quite puts me off my omelette.' Meenakshi had sighed. she had found it impossible to curb her taste for certain items (foreign soap. She's quite needlessly senile. and making sure that everything fitted within the budget.' 82. 'You are so scrumptious. For some reason the ayah's slow-moving back irritated Meenakshi and she thought: We really ought to replace the T. But three-year-olds were not supposed to express themselves so lucidly. and so on) that were intrinsic to the fabric of a civilized life. and she hated it.' To the ayah she said. She was very conscious of the fact that Arun helped support everyone in his own family and often commented to him about the fact. replying in a couplet : 'Marry one . part-time gardener.C.

'Don't sleep. She looked at Buddenbrooks. 'Don't be horrid. She was awakened with a shock twenty minutes later by Aparna. Aparna precious. Later. But do be quiet. There was no response. when Daddy comes home.' said Aparna speculatively.' she added. as if she liked the phrase.' she said.with rhyme that most of the younger Chatterjis had learned to improvise couplets.' 'No. and tugged at her mother's gold chain. and dismissed the subject. though her mother did. at her empty glass.' said Aparna.' replied Meenakshi. closed her eyes and went off to sleep. 'Mmm ?' 第 75 页 共 293 页 http://www. Mummy is tired.com. sometimes of surpassing puerility.' ' . 'Mummy ?' tentatively. at the mirror. Then she said. Or you can play with Uncle Varun when he returns from college. Not now. 'I want a necklace too. she's been reading a book and she doesn't want to play. who was pinching her breast. 'I want to play. Mummy's trying to sleep. Meenakshi gave her daughter a hug. darling. at the quilt.' Unlike other children of her age.' Aparna was quiet for a while. 'Darling sweetheart.almost obsession . at her sleeping mother. at the ceiling.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 .en8848. What have you done with your glass ?' 'When will Daddy come home ?' 'I'd say in about an hour. With a sound of impatience Meenakshi threw Thomas Mann onto the bed and followed him there. Meenakshi turned her lovely eyes back to Euddenbrooks while Aparna sat on the bed drinking her milk. 'Then stay here if you want. you can play with him. anyway. 'And you shall have one. The ayah brought the milk and left. Aparna never used her name in the Caesarean third person.Meenakshi's elder brother was a poet. It was from long familiarity . 'Mummy ?' Aparna attempted a few notches louder. 'I'd say in about an hour. 'Now go to Miriam.' said Meenakshi.

'No. and she dreamed about Arun.' replied Aparna definitively. I came home early just as I promised . Her breasts rose and fell gently. 'Now. and everything tilted her towards a long and languorous sleep. her long black hair spread across the pillow. walked into the bedroom.' Aparna got down reluctantly from the bed and made her way to the door. Aparna woke me up every few minutes.' 'I couldn't sleep earlier. 'Then what is it ? Why are you shouting ? What were you going to say ?' 'Have you had a hard day. and who would be coming home in an hour. hoping to arouse a response to her imitative charm.' She was momentarily bewildered. Seeing Meenakshi asleep. darling. 'Yes.'MUMMY !' yelled Aparna at the top of her lungs. then took off his coat and tie.en8848. When Arun arrived. he paced up and down for a while. 'Oh. her lips slightly parted.' After a pause Arun continued: 'To tell you the truth. darling?' asked Aparna. Til tell Daddy!' though what she could have complained about was left unformulated. he left his briefcase in the drawing room. Meenakshi opened her eyes and said.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . and lay down beside her without disturbing her sleep. who was handsome and dashing and covenanted. Her mother meanwhile was once again sleeping sweetly.' 'Shall I comb your hair ?' 'No. She toyed with the idea of saying. 第 76 页 共 293 页 http://www.' 'What's the programme for the evening?' 'Dinner and dancing with Billy and Shireen. But after a while his hand moved to her forehead and then down her face to her breasts. and closed the door.and I found you asleep. And after a while she began to dream about Billy Irani. After a while she asked. of course. 'What's the time ?' 'Five-thirty. It was so hot in the afternoon. pick up that glass and go to Miriam at once.' 84 'Oh yes.' said Meenakshi shortly. darling. 'Do you want me to spank you ?' she asked. 83 Meenakshi sat bolt upright and shook Aparna. whom they would be meeting later that evening.com.

and for the next hour or so they did a 第 77 页 共 293 页 http://www. In this case I think he's as annoyed by the possible delay as pleased by the definite saving. yawning a little from residual sleepiness : 'How has your boss reacted to all this ?' 'Difficult to say. When he stopped and looked at her questioningly. that that's the line he took with them as well . dear. Now I find. she said. 'Naughty boy. 'The T. but it does rather shock one No sense of business ethics . He was in the office the other day. Arun talked on for five minutes or so. after talking to Jock Mackay.com.' she added. After a while she added.' Arun unburdened himself for another five minutes while Meenakshi began to buff her nails.' said Meenakshi brightly.' said Meenakshi. She had switched off a few sentences ago.' Arun reached out for her.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . With Basil Cox it's difficult to say anything.darling.C has been cheating us on the Ostermilk. 'And a glance or two from Shireen. but when Aparna saw her father's briefcase she knew that he had returned and insisted upon being admitted. 'I suppose you're right. but had quite recovered. and pushed his hand away.'I discovered today that we were being overcharged sixty thousand on the new paper project by one of our local businessmen. Arun 85 opened the door and gave her a hug.or personal ethics either.en8848. you'll revive quickly enough after you've had a drink. He had had a little trouble with his back a month ago. I wonder whether we shouldn't simply call it off tonight ?' 'Oh.but charged them sixty thousand less than us.' 'Ah ? Has she ?' said Arun indifferently.' 'What will you do ?' Meenakshi asked dutifully. while Meenakshi's mind wandered. even when he's delighted. of course. then swerved off to a subject that interested him . and he assured me that he was making us a special offer because of what he called our longstanding relationship. We've asked him to revise his estimates. The bedroom door had been bolted against interruption. I'm rather tired.

banished to the drawing room this time.' said Meenakshi. and the rest of Varun's evening was spent at home trying to keep her amused. 'Now I want to do a jigsaw. Meenakshi and Arun were not really able to afford all this . 'Has she. Arun told Shireen she was looking gorgeous and Billy looked with soulful languor at Meenakshi and said that she looked divine.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . What.jigsaw featuring a giraffe. slid past Arun into his tiny box of a room. And please clear the bedroom floor. for that matter. which Aparna had seen in a toyshop a week after being taken to the Brahmpur Zoo. and could not settle down to studying.' So for a while Arun and Aparna. lay on the carpet putting together a jigsaw of the Victoria Memorial while Meenakshi bathed and dressed and perfumed and ornamented herself. darling. Varun returned from college. 'I must get ready.Billy Irani had independent means 第 78 页 共 293 页 http://www. 'You handle her. They had done the jigsaw several times before. When Arun went to get ready.en8848. darling?' said Arun. 'But she will. but Aparna had not yet tired of it.com. after all.' 'But we've just done one.' 'You handle her. 'I want to do another.' Aparna looked so disappointed at this latest intelligence that Arun and Meenakshi turned to each other with transferred adoration. were younger brothers for ? 'Mummy has promised me a necklace. He adored his daughter and occasionally felt it was a pity that he and Meenakshi went out almost every evening.?protested Arun.' said Aparna. and sat down with his books. and things went wonderfully well and were followed 86 by some pleasantly titillating dancing at the 300 Club. But one simply couldn't let one's life come to a standstill because one had a child. Meenakshi. Nor had Arun. The long-necked Meenakshi turned numerous heads when their party of four entered Firpos for dinner. Aparna was transferred to him. were ayahs for? What. But he seemed nervous. 'How does she imagine she's going to buy it ? We can't afford it at the moment.' said Aparna.' said Arun. quietly and determinedly.

But Meenakshi had her mind on something else. was a contented man. then held the cool and precious discs to her cheeks. Motu Chand. then balanced them in her hands. darling. First. He looked a bit like a bulldog with his large eyes and snuffling mouth. She wondered how much they weighed. She had examined them quite carefully as they hung from Shireen's little ears. Two lions crouched sternly on pedestals on each medal.' But Saeeda Bai's accompanists were a study in contrast. for whom this kind of life was so obviously intended. said. and she felt that her husband would have approved. Civil Engg. 'Just coming. was a slightly sardonic bachelor. They were discussing Ustad Majeed Khan.but it seemed intolerable that they. 1916' and 'Physics. the lovely little gold danglers that Shireen was wearing. she had nothing else to give. one of the most famous classical singers of India. a notoriously aloof man who lived in the old city.by economics and affection . and both were devoted and skilled musicians. already a father of four. she murmured. through dinner and beyond. 'You look dangerously preoccupied.to Saeeda Bai. and deeply attached . so nicknamed because of his plumpness. 'Give me your hand. should be deprived of it by a mere lack of funds.en8848. On the back of the medals was engraved: 'Thomasson Engineering College Roorkee. Ishaq Khan. It was a warm evening. Meenakshi could not help noticing. who bowed his sarangi with such ease and harmoniousness. and was benignly torpid. placing one red nail-polished fingertip on the back of his hand. Meenakshi unlocked her jewellery case (the Chatterjis did not believe in giving their daughter great quantities of jewellery but she had been given quite enough for her likely requirements) and took out the two gold medals so precious to Mrs Rupa Mehra's heart.' and Meenakshi.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . Both were about twentyfive.' But it was a minute or two before she joined him. Raghubir Mehra. The danglers were shaped like tiny pears. when Arun had gone to bed. But beyond that the resemblance ended. Both were fond of each other. darling ?' he asked her. When Arun rather impatiently called her to bed. Later. This she felt was the appropriate thing to do. She had given these to Meenakshi at the time of her wedding as a gift to the bride of her elder son.com. not far 第 79 页 共 293 页 http://www. 1916' respectively. almost self-effacement. Meenakshi looked at the medals. except when frenziedly drumming his tabla. 'Here!' Arun thought that this was delightfully elegant and flirtatious. In the car on the way back home Arun said to Meenakshi. and that hung so becomingly from her little velvety ears. First. She thought of the gold chain she had promised Aparna and the gold drops she had virtually promised herself. 'What are you thinking of.

' said Ishaq Khan. 'is why he should be so critical of us small people. There he sits with his head above the clouds. getting a glimpse of his meaning. Khan Sahib . 'And what else ?' 'Oh. and sent her to get some sweets. now leaning forward with an effort.' said Motu Chand.' said Motu Chand. well. you know. 'Now look at this sarangi it's a noble instrument .from where Saeeda Bai had grown up. you know ? he began. Motu Chand made reassuring sounds.yet the noble Majeed Khan hates it. defeated as to Ishaq's intention. 'Look at the little wrestler. 'But what I don't understand. As you well know. 'We must feed him some laddus. 145 'Wood !' he cried.' Saeeda Bai nodded.' he said. The hide of a dead animal. wood of course. but he appeared to get a cruel pleasure from worsting Motu Chand in an argument.' said Motu Chand. leaning awkwardly backwards because of his paunch. Ishaq was not a bad fellow.strings and so on. 'And what are these strings made of?' continued Ishaq Khan relentlessly. Now what would your brahmins of Brahmpur say if they were forced to touch it ? Would they not be polluted by it ?' Motu Chand looked downcast. Saeeda Begum.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . He never allows it to accompany him.' said Ishaq Khan.' She called out for her maid.' laughed Saeeda Bai. I'm not a brahmin. 'Anyway. 第 80 页 共 293 页 http://www. smiling twistedly at his friend. 'It is the loveliest of all instruments. Ishaq continued to wind the coils of his argument around the struggling Motu Chand. 'Ah!' said Motu Chand. 'You kafir. 'These strings are made of gut.en8848. Why should he open his third eye to burn us up ?' 'There is no accounting for the moods of the great. He touched his sarangi with his left hand and went on. then rallied.' said Ishaq. like Lord Shiva on Kailash. And the front of a sarangi is made of skin. 'Gut.com. 'How can you pretend to like this instrument? What is it made of?' 'Well.

'Don't tease him,' said Saeeda Bai to Ishaq Khan. 'I love the fat kafir too much to want to tease him,' said Ishaq Khan. This was not true. Since Motu Chand was of an alarmingly equable bent of mind, what Ishaq Khan liked more than anything else was to upset his balance. But this time Motu Chand reacted in an irksomely philosophical manner. 'Khan Sahib is very kind,' he said. 'But sometimes even the ignorant have wisdom, and he would be the first to acknowledge this. Now for me the sarangi is not what it is made of but what it makes - these divine sounds. In the hands of an artist even this gut and this skin can be made to sing.' His face wreathed with a contented, almost Sufi, smile. 'After all, what are we all but gut and skin ? And yet'- his forehead creased with concentration - 'in the hands of one who - the One?' But the maid now came in with the sweets and Motu Chand's theological meanderings halted. His plump and agile fingers quickly reached for a laddu as round as himself and popped it whole into his mouth. After a while Saeeda Bai said, 'But we were not discussing the One above' - she pointed upwards - 'but the One 146 to the West.' She pointed in the direction of Old Brahmpur. 'They are the same,' said Ishaq Khan. 'We pray both westwards and upwards. I am sure Ustad Majeed Khan would not take it amiss if we were mistakenly to turn to him in prayer one evening. And why not?' he ended ambiguously. 'When we pray to such lofty art, we are praying to God himself.' He looked at Motu Chand for approval, but Motu appeared to be either sulking or concentrating on his laddu.

The maid re-entered and announced: 'There is some trouble at the gate.' Saeeda Bai looked more interested than alarmed. 'What sort of trouble, Bibbo ?' she asked. The maid looked at her cheekily and said, 'It seems that a young man is quarrelling with the watchman.' 'Shameless thing, wipe that expression off your face,' said Saeeda Bai. 'Hmm,' she went on, 'what does he look like?'
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'How would I know, Begum Sahiba?' protested the maid. 'Don't be troublesome, Bibbo. Does he look respectable ?' 'Yes,' admitted the maid. 'But the street-lights were not bright enough for me to see anything more.' 'Call the watchman,' said Saeeda Bai. 'There's only us here,' she added, as the maid looked hesitant. 'But the young man ?' asked the maid. 'If he's as respectable as you say, Bibbo, he'll remain outside.' 'Yes, Begum Sahiba,' said the maid and went to do her bidding. 'Who do you think it could be ?' mused Saeeda Bai aloud, and was silent for a minute. The watchman entered the house, left his spear at the front entrance, and climbed heavily up the stairs to the gallery. He stood at the doorway of the room where they were sitting, and saluted. With his khaki turban, khaki uniform, thick boots and bushy moustache, he was corn147 pletely out of place in that femininely furnished room. But he did not seem at all ill at ease. 'Who is this man and what does he want ?' asked Saeeda Bai. 'He wants to come in and speak with you,' said the watchman phlegmatically. 'Yes, yes, I thought as much - but what is his name ?' 'He won't say, Begum Sahiba. Nor will he take no for an answer. Yesterday too he came, and told me to give you a message, but it was so impertinent, I decided not to.' Saeeda Bai's eyes flashed. 'You decided not to ?' she asked. 'The Raja Sahib was here,' said the watchman calmly. 'Hmmh. And the message ?'
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'That he is one who lives in love,' said the watchman impassively. He had used a different word for love and had thus lost the pun on Prem Nivas. 'One who lives in love ? What can he mean ?' remarked Saeeda Bai to Motu and Ishaq. The two looked at each other, Ishaq Khan with a slight smirk of disdain.

'This world is populated by donkeys,' said Saeeda Bai, but whom she was referring to was unclear. 'Why didn't he leave a note? So those were his exact words? Neither very idiomatic nor very witty.' The watchman searched his memory and came out with a closer approximation to the actual words Maan had used the previous evening. At any rate, 'prem' and 'nivas' both figured in his sentence. All three musicians solved the riddle immediately. 'Ah!' said Saeeda Bai, amused. 'I think I have an admirer. What do you say ? Shall we let him in ? Why not ?' Neither of the others demurred - as, indeed, how could they ? The watchman was told to let the young man in. And Bibbo was told to tell Tasneem to stay in her room. 148 * 2.13 MAAN, who was fretting by the gate, could hardly believe his good fortune at being so speedily admitted. He felt a surge of gratitude towards the watchman and pressed a rupee into his hand. The watchman left him at the door of the house, and the maid pointed him up to the room. As Maan's footsteps were heard in the gallery outside Saeeda Bai's room, she called out, 'Come in, come in, Dagh Sahib. Sit down and illumine our gathering.' Maan stood outside the door for a second, and looked at Saeeda Bai. He was smiling with pleasure, and Saeeda Bai could not help smiling back at him. He was dressed simply and immaculately in a well-starched white kurtapyjama. The fine chikan embroidery on his kurta complemented the embroidery on his fine white cotton cap. His shoes - slip-on jutis of soft leather, pointed at the toe were also white.
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'How did you come ?' asked Saeeda Bai. 'I walked.' 'These are fine clothes to risk in the dust.' Maan said simply, 'It is just a few minutes away.' 'Please - sit down.' Maan sat cross-legged on the white-sheeted floor. Saeeda Bai began to busy herself making paan. Maan looked at her wonderingly. 'I came yesterday too, but was less fortunate.' 'I know, I know,' said Saeeda Bai. 'My fool of a watchman turned you away. What can I say ? We are not all blessed with the faculty of discrimination ' 'But I'm here today,' said Maan, rather obviously. 'Wherever Dagh has sat down, he has sat down ?' asked Saeeda Bai, with a smile. Her head was bent, and she was spreading a little white dab of lime on the paan leaves. 'He may not quit your assembly at all this time,' said Maan. Since she was not looking directly at him, he could look at her without embarrassment. She had covered her head with her sari before he had come in. But the soft, smooth 149 skin of her neck and shoulders was exposed, and Maan found the tilt of her neck as she bent over her task indescribably charming. Having made a pair of paans she impaled them on a little silver toothpick with tassels, and offered them to him. He took them and put them in his mouth, pleasantly surprised at the taste of coconut, which was an ingredient Saeeda Bai was fond of adding to her paan. 'I see you are wearing your own style of Gandhi cap,' said Saeeda Bai, after popping a couple of paans into her mouth. She did not offer any to Ishaq Khan or Motu Chand, but then they seemed to have virtually melted into the background.
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Maan touched the side of his embroidered white cap nervously, unsure of himself. 'No, no, Dagh Sahib, don't trouble yourself. This isn't a church, you know.' Saeeda Bai looked at him and said, 'I was reminded of other white caps one sees floating around in Brahmpur. The heads that wear them have grown taller recently.' 'I am afraid you are going to accuse me of the accident of my birth,' said Maan. 'No, no,' said Saeeda Bai. 'Your father has been an old patron of the arts. It is the other Congress-wallahs I was thinking of.' 'Perhaps I should wear a cap of a different colour the next time I come,' said Maan. Saeeda Bai raised an eyebrow. 'Assuming I am ushered into your presence,' Maan added humbly. Saeeda Bai thought to herself: What a well-brought-up young man. She indicated to Motu Chand that he should bring the tablas and harmonium that were lying in the corner of the room. To Maan she said, 'And now what does Hazrat Dagh command us to sing ?' 'Why, anything,' said Maan, throwing banter to the winds. 'Not a ghazal, I hope,' said Saeeda Bai, pressing down a 150 r key on the harmonium to help the tabla and sarangi tune up. 'No ?' asked Maan, disappointed. 'Ghazals are for open gatherings or the intimacy of lovers,' said Saeeda Bai. Til sing what my family is best known for and what my Ustad best taught me.' She began a thumri in Raag Pilu, 'Why then are you not speaking to me ?' and Maan's face brightened up. As she sang he floated off into a state of intoxication. The sight of her face, the sound of her voice, and the scent of
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her perfume were intertwined in his happiness. After two or three thumris and a dadra, Saeeda Bai indicated that she was tired, and that Maan should leave. He left reluctantly, showing, however, more good humour than reluctance. Downstairs, the watchman found a five-rupee note pressed into his hand. Out on the street Maan trod on air. She will sing a ghazal for me sometime, he promised himself. She will, she certainly will. 2.14 IT was Sunday morning. The sky was bright and clear. The weekly bird market near the Barsaat Mahal was in full swing. Thousands of birds - mynas, partridges, pigeons, parakeets - fighting birds, eating birds, racing birds, talking birds - sat or fluttered in iron or cane cages in little stalls from which rowdy hawkers cried out the excellence and cheapness of their wares. The pavement had been taken over by the bird market, and buyers or passers-by like Ishaq had to walk on the road surface, bumping against rickshaws and bicycles and the occasional tonga. There was even a pavement stall with books about birds. Ishaq picked up a flimsy, blunt-typed paperback about owls and spells, and looked idly through to see what uses this unlucky bird could be put to. It appeared to be a book of Hindu black magic, The Tantra of Owls, though it was printed in Urdu. He read :

151 Sovereign Remedy to Obtain Employment Take the tail-feathers of an owl and a crow, and burn them together in a fire made from mango wood until they form ash. Place this ash on your forehead like a caste-mark when you go to seek employment, and you will most certainly obtain it. He frowned and read on : Method of Keeping a Woman in Your Power If you want to keep a woman in your control, and wish to prevent her from coming under the influence of anyone else, then use the technique described below : Take the blood of an owl, the blood of a jungle fowl and the blood of a bat in equal proportions, and after smearing the mixture on your penis have intercourse with the woman. Then she will never desire another man.'
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Ishaq felt almost sick. These Hindus! he thought. On an impulse he bought the book, deciding that it was an excellent means of provoking his friend Motu Chand. 'I have one on vultures as well,' said the bookseller helpfully. 'No, this is all I want,' said Ishaq, and walked on. He stopped at a stall where a large number of tiny, almost formless grey-green balls of stubbly flesh lay imprisoned in a hooped cage. 'Ah!' he said. His look of interest had an immediate effect on the white-capped stall-keeper, who appraised him, glancing at the book in his hand. 'These are not ordinary parakeets, Huzoor, these are hill parakeets, Alexandrine parakeets as the English sahibs say.' The English had left more than three years ago, but Ishaq let it pass. 'I know, I know,' he said. 'I can tell an expert when I see one,' said the stall-keeper 152. in a most friendly manner. 'Now, why not have this one? Only two rupees and it will sing like an angel.' 'A male angel or a female angel ?' said Ishaq severely. The stall-keeper suddenly became obsequious. 'Oh, you must forgive me, you must forgive me. People here are so ignorant, one can hardly bear to part with one's most promising birds, but for one who knows parakeets I will do anything, anything. Have this one, Huzoor.' And he picked out one with a larger head, a male. Ishaq held it for a few seconds, then placed it back in the cage. The man shook his head, then said : 'Now for a true fancier, what can I provide that is better than this ? Is it a bird from Rudhia District that you want ? Or from the foothills in Horshana? They talk better than mynas.'
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yes.with his purchase nestled in his handkerchief . As he walked towards Nabiganj he almost bumped into a hand-cart.' They haggled for a while.the stall-keeper said in an anxious voice.' 第 88 页 共 293 页 http://www. He arrived at Saeeda Bai's house at about four and told Tasneem that he had brought something for her.' agreed Ishaq. he made his way to Saeeda Bai's house. and had one who was still alive at the age of seventeen.' 'Then we are brothers!' beamed the stall-keeper. then asked to see one of them.' 'What do they call you ?' asked Ishaq. and would delight the heart of young Tasneem. 'Don't tease me. 'This one. 'Muhammad Ismail. Until the money changed hands the stall-keeper seemed a bit resentful. Ishaq Bhai. A good Alexandrine parakeet was his favourite kind of parrot. as Ishaq was about to leave . Ishaq looked at them silently. 'Tell me how he is doing when you come by next time. 'And you know by now that I will not be fooled about the price either. 'Please tell me what it is.15 ISHAQ went home. carrying the parakeet in his handkerchief. He was in high spirits. From time to time he looked at it in appreciation.' 'Yes. and walked hurriedly away.Ishaq simply said. thinking of parakeets he had known.' she said. Huzoor. fixing her beautiful large eyes on his face. 153 2. This was a good bird he had got.en8848.' The man went to the back of the shop and opened a cage in which three little half-fledged birds sat huddled together.' he said to the man. had lunch. His aunt was very fond of them. Later. 'Let's see something worth seeing. 'You must always get your birds from my shop. And how are you addressed ?' ''Ishaq Khan. He smiled.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . Then. She was to try and guess what it was.com. and fed the bird a little flour mixed with water. imagining what an excellent and intelligent bird it potentially was.

'It's a bird.that would be superfluous to your beauty. the ball moved. Well. 'A ball of wool! You want me to knit you a pair of socks.' 'It is not -' said Tasneem with contempt. Is it something to wear ?' 'Oh no . she did not greatly resemble her elder sister. What did she do ? Cut vegetables to help the cook.' said Ishaq. smiling. The stubbly ball of flesh looked quite disgusting.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . I won't.en8848. read novels.' said Tasneem. she could meditate too deeply on the subject.' said Ishaq. frowning. you know. 'Please don't talk that way.' 'Like what ?' said Ishaq. and her eyes lit up with pleasure. 'it's a mouse. you know. Then he placed it on a table near a red lacquer vase. And your bringing me this gift proves it. and then there will be trouble. 'Why do you insist on calling me Bhai ?' he asked. gossip with the maid. 'So you see -' said Ishaq. think about life. 'Like ? began Tasneem.' said Tasneem. I have better things to do. tall and slender. Now please don't keep me in suspense. too.com. Her eyes were liquid and her expression tender. She glanced uncomfortably at a long mirror on the wall. I'm not a child.' said Tasneem.' 'And I'm not exactly your brother. here it is ' And Ishaq took out what looked like a soft ball of fluffy material wrapped in a handkerchief.Ishaq looked at her and thought that 'gazelle-like' really did suit Tasneem. 'How lovely. 'Because you are virtually my brother. But before 154 晻. She was lively. 'I need one. but always seemed to be on the point of taking flight. Delicate-featured. 'Apa might hear you. talk to her sister. He unwrapped the parakeet and they looked at it together. then was silent.' 'Well. 第 89 页 共 293 页 http://www.

Tasneem swiftly drew her hand back.'I selected him this morning. Despite its stubble it was very soft. Its colour was very slightly green. but I wanted to have one that would be just right for you. 'It took me hours.' Tasneem gazed at the bird. as its feathers had only just begun to emerge. 'What is he called?' Ishaq laughed.en8848. and I had to think quite hard before I decided -' 第 90 页 共 293 页 http://www.and males are more intelligent. The best talkers come from the foothills. At the same moment each stretched out a hand to touch him. covered with a yellow scarf.' said Ishaq. but not a regular one.' said Ishaq. but she was glad that Ishaq had not got her another myna but something quite different.' said Ishaq. 'A parakeet ?' 'Yes. 'You go ahead.if you don't get them young they don't learn to speak . Tasneem had been even lonelier without the bird. 'Why do you want to call him anything ? Just 搕 ota?will do. then stretched out her hand and touched it. There were three of them in the stall from the same nest. He's not a warhorse that he should be called Ruksh or Bucephalas.' 'Has he eaten anything ?' 'A bit of flour mixed with water.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . He's a hill parakeet. and Ishaq. they're taken from their nests when they're very young .' Both of them were standing and looking at the baby parakeet.and you should get a male one he'll develop a lovely rose-and-black ring around his neck .com. Their eyes were level. He'll talk as well as a myna. That was doubly considerate of him. you know. 'I've had him all day.' When Mohsina Bai died. found himself speaking without paying any attention to his words. her highly talkative myna had quickly followed her. 155 'Oh. 'How do they get such tiny birds ?' asked Tasneem. looking at her head.

' 'How cruel. embarrassed. loved and unfree! He could change one cage for another. 'But it would be worse still if birds. Tasneem .' said Tasneem.'You mean. would arrange all that soon enough.but if we could fly as well as walk it would be a hundred times worse. could only walk. And then 'Sometimes I wish I could fly ' She stopped. If you get a pair of them. I'll get him another one. Ishaq too started laughing.' said Ishaq. 'But he had already been taken from his nest when I bought him. he's separated from his brothers and sisters ?' Tasneem broke in. like us. and experienced in the ways of the world.' continued Ishaq. Her sister.or can you imagine the confusion ? The police have a hard enough time controlling traffic in Chowk .' He put his hand on hers .' said Ishaq. Ishaq looked at her seriously. 'He had to be. delighted by the picture they had conjured * up.she didn't draw back at once . upset that he had caused her pain. 第 91 页 共 293 页 http://www. If he doesn't like that cage.en8848. And for the first few days feed him a little parched gram flour moistened with water or a little daal soaked overnight. and the two of them. felt the tears rolling down their cheeks. 'Imagine them strolling up and down Nabiganj with their walking-sticks in the evenings. Her eyes grew moist.and said : 'Now it's up to you to give him a good life. Poor parakeet.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 .com. 'It is a good thing we can't. 'You can't put them back or they'll be rejected by their parents. Tasneem hers with her yellow dupatta. Ishaq wiped his away with his hand. And she would change these four walls for a different four. Put him in a nest of cloth in the cage in which your mother's myna used to be kept.' Tasneem tried not to smile. fifteen years her senior. 'But of course. they don't learn to imitate anything we say.' 156 Now she was laughing.' Tasneem withdrew her hand gently from under Ishaq's.

'No . Then he added.Their laughter sounded through the house.' 2. Ishaq looked guilty. 'why should you want to take it ? Just get your sarangi. came into *the room.' 'I'm just going. After a while Saeeda Bai broke the silence. And don't be all day about it. 第 92 页 共 293 页 http://www. roused from her afternoon nap.en8848.' She paused.what's all this ? Is one not to be permitted to rest even in the afternoon?' Then her eyes alighted on the baby parakeet. no -' said Saeeda Bai. The baby parakeet sat quite still on the table-top near the red lacquer vase . Tasneem looked down with half a sob.16 NO ONE spoke. looking from one to the other.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 .' 157 Ishaq left hurriedly.' she said.' 'Well ?' 'Of course I'll go and get it immediately.com. his translucent gullet worked up and down. The parakeet made a feeble attempt to move. with something of a stern edge. then added: 'One singer is enough in any establishment. 'I forgot. Get rid of it. and she clicked her tongue in irritation. I was thinking of the parakeet. v^ Saeeda Bai. Saeeda Bai.' 'The Raja of Marh has sent word he will be coming this evening. and in a surprised voice. 'Ishaq. 'Shall I take the parakeet ?' 'No. That miserable myna of my mother's caused me enough trouble. looking at Tasneem. you are here early. suddenly said : 'Where is your sarangi anyway ?' Ishaq realized he had not even brought it.no more birds in this house. said : 'Ishaq . He flushed.' said Ishaq.

trying to still the confusion in her mind. Saeeda Bai. Polish it and bring it here. why are you crying? Why are you so overwrought? Is it Ammi-jaan's grave you are thinking of ?' 'Yes. its atmosphere of dread and even guilt had surged back over her. 'Please sit down.and when Ishaq left. 'Now go inside.' 'You've come late I mean. he usually sends someone in the morning. held her hand. and turned away. looked gratefully at her sister.Tasneem. Saeeda Bai sat down. please sit down. who had been close to tears. Saeeda Bai pulled herself together and dried her eyes. Then she held the small parakeet in her hands to keep him warm. 'You ?' 'Yes.com. and was waiting outside.' said Saeeda Bai quickly. The business of the bird had woken her up from a haunting and peculiar dream involving the death of her mother and her own earlier life . 'Let him in. But when Firoz walked in. 'You are the only thing I care for in the world.en8848. using the term of endearment and respect she always used for her elder sister.' she said. gripping his elegant walkingstick lightly in his right hand.for him to eat later. however. 'I've brought an envelope from my father. And soak some daal some chan?ki daal . She was sitting like this when the maidservant came in to announce that someone had arrived from the Nawab Sahib's place. 'What's the matter. looking a bit dazed. Apa.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . 'Why.' said Firoz.' 158 Until now the Nawab Sahib had sent a servant with the monthly envelope.' Tasneem went in towards the kitchen.' she said. For 第 93 页 共 293 页 http://www. kissing her forehead and cheeks. 'May God keep you happy ' Tasneem hugged her and said. was far away. Apa?' she asked. she gave a startled gasp. Saeeda Bai began to sob. handsome and smiling. Tasneem.' murmured Saeeda Bai. and hugged Tasneem to her. noticing her sister suddenly sad. get the cage lying in Ammi-jaan's old room. yes.

'Whenever my sister goes out of the house she goes in purdah. For Tasneem. Surely. even if we have 第 94 页 共 293 页 http://www. seeing him. Tasneem walked in with the copper birdcage and. They looked at each other.' 'But? began Tasneem. the birdcage in her right hand.en8848. Have you soaked the daal yet ?' 'I? 159 'Go and do so immediately. She stood there with her yellow dupatta. Do you want the bird to starve ?' When the bewildered Tasneem had left.com. 'Go back to your room at once. of course? Her thoughts were interrupted by Firoz. That many years ago there must have been something between the Nawab Sahib and Saeeda Bai's mother .the last two months. and go back to your Arabic exercises. So it is not possible that you could have met. his heart beating fast. Then he realized that she must have been upset even before his arrival by something quite different. who was coming -' 'Yes. Firoz tried to orient his thoughts. Firoz was just another handsome admirer of her sister's . he thought. her mouth slightly open in astonishment perhaps at his astonishment. transfixed. I have not got you a new teacher for nothing. Tasneem. 'Have we met before ?' he asked gently. I will take care of the bird. yes.' Saeeda Bai looked upset. And this month too. put the cage down. suddenly stopped.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . I have come at a bad time. Saeeda Bai remembered it had been just a couple of days after her period. She lowered her eyes quickly. then looked at him again. who said : 'I happened to bump into my father's private secretary. Firoz wondered why 晻 y^his appearance should have distressed her so much. Firoz was staring at her.but startlingly so. He felt strangely disturbed.surely there was nothing in this to cause her such agitation. and decided to go.and that his father continued to send a little something each month to support the family . Tasneem was about to reply when Saeeda Bai said. he felt. And this is the first time that the Nawabzada has graced my poor lodgings with his presence. His mouth was dry.

not met on this mortal plane. '玙粫 t in six months. All over India. the Lord of all Being. Her hands still cradled the little parakeet gently. From outside she heard the call to evening prayer.towards the house of God in Mecca. Haresh was as keen on 'requisite 第 95 页 共 293 页 http://www. who seemed to be paying as little attention to his words as he to hers. and through her subsequent kneelings and prostrations. Sanitation. counter to the religion he nominally adhered to.com. She wrapped him up warmly in a piece of cloth and set him down near the red vase again. he walked slowly out of the door. The girl with the birdcage had in a few short moments made the most profound and unsettling impression on him. as the sun or the shadow of darkness moves from east to west. the call to prayer moves with it.it was simply a question of making sensible decisions and having the requisite facilities to implement them. and people kneel down in a wave to pray to God. the AllCompassionate. nor of those who are astray. Thee only we serve . like iron filings near a magnet .en8848. Guide us in the straight path.one for each namaaz ripple across the globe from longitude to longitude. the Compassionate Praise belongs to God. we have met in some former life. the Master of the Day of Doom. and she covered her head. all over the world. the path of those whom Thou hast blessed. The thought. paving. Saeeda Bai got up to go to an inner room where she performed the ritual ablution and began her prayers : In the Name of God. one terrifying line from the Holy Book recurred again and again to her mind : And God alone knows what you keep secret and what you publish. drinking water. the All-Merciful. affected him the more powerfully for all that. 160 But through this. After abridged pleasantries with Saeeda Bai. The component elements change direction. civic sense . not those against whom Thou art wrathful.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . Five waves each day . to Thee alone we pray for succour. the Merciful. He appeared to have gone off to sleep. Saeeda Bai sat perfectly still on the sofa for a few minutes. electricity.

10 A tall.facilities' as he was on his 'To Do' list. for his own part. not objecting to this least original of questions.' The young man seemed a bit troubled about something. slightly rough-edged voice. Haresh paid off the tonga. 'We've come to see Dr Durrani. Bhaskar. Kedarnath's son.' said Bhaskar. lazy servant pointed out Dr Durrani's house. and walked over with Bhaskar. But after lunch he collected Bhaskar anyway and took a tonga to Sunil's. Bhaskar accompanied Haresh in silence. 4. a friend's son. impressed by the young man's looks and manner. 'How old are you ?' 'Nine.' and went back 第 96 页 共 293 页 http://www. and I realized I hadn't asked. I'm sorry. Oh yes.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 .? A minute or two later he emerged and said. My name's Kabir. 'Do you think he might be free ?' 'I'll just see what my father is doing. He frowned at his own lack of foresight.' said the young 2-99 man in a low. I should have got Dr Durrani's address from Sunil last night. 'I wonder what's keeping my father. Sunil's faithful. and Haresh. what's his name now. which was a few doors away. pleasant. Dr Durrani looked as if he had walked to Sunil's house. After a while Kabir said. I should introduce myself first. He asked me who you were. held out his hand. reflected Haresh. but did his best to make conversation.' Haresh.' said Kabir. smiled in a clipped sort of way. so he couldn't live all that far away. 'My father will be out in a minute. 'Hello.' said Haresh. good-looking fellow in cricket whites opened the door. was happy not to say anything other than where they were going. 'And this is Bhaskar. Bhaskar! he said to himself. He was impatient with himself if anything was lacking in the former or undone in the latter. He was pondering what all this was about. He also believed in 'following things through'.com.en8848. and introduced himself. 'Please come in.

his eyes scrunched up in utter perplexity.' Dr Durrani looked quite pleased. 'Shall I come back to pick him up at four o'clock?' asked Haresh. square face. he asked Haresh : 'Have you come to see one of my. yes. and coming closer and closer to a conclusion. er.in. his eyebrows working up and down. He liked Dr Durrani's strong. This is my young friend Bhaskar. er. Noticing Bhaskar.we met at Sunil's party. you said that we could drop in to see you. with the air of having arrived at a considerable insight. sons ?' Bhaskar's eyes lit up at this unusual adult behaviour. When Dr Durrani finally came into the drawing room. and asked Bhaskar what two plus two was. whom I told you about. and in particular the balance and symmetry of his magnificent white moustache. He appraised this new premise from several angles in silence.' said Dr Durrani. 'Sunil ?' said Dr Durrani. you can.en8848. who had stood up. He appeared to be mulling over this answer. I 300 think his interest in mathematics is remarkable.was not. rather briskly : 'Dr Durrani. Haresh was taken aback. In a very tentative voice he replied : 'Four?' Dr Durrani was silent.though he normally rejected considerably more complex sums as unworthy of his attention . leave him here for a while. insulted. Haresh decided to speed up the process. He said. but Bhaskar .com. Haresh began to feel ill at ease.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . 第 97 页 共 293 页 http://www. Haresh. he was quite surprised to see his visitors. apparently. it's you we've come to see. I don't know if you remember me . said: 'No indeed. Dr Durrani. 'Patwardhan. 'Well.' he said. 'Sunil ?Sunil ? He seemed to be weighing something up with great seriousness. and I felt he should meet you.

it's rather like the question of the. er. taught you that is ?' '180 degrees. The remaining surface of the dining room table was covered with equations in yellow chalk. In the tonga back to Misri Mandi. 'You see. like some ?' he asked Bhaskar matter-offactly.' said Bhaskar. What have they.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . er. sum of the angles in a . An hour later. Haresh could not resist asking Bhaskar: 'Did you understand all those equations ?' 'No. at least.com. as if he were receiving a sanctified offering from a temple. 'it's rather. that he 第 98 页 共 293 页 http://www. But on the surface of this. please.' said Bhaskar. however. as if he could not figure out what it was doing in his hand.' said Bhaskar. on which were lying among other things . 'On the.' he said.' said Dr Durrani. picking up a musammi from a bowl on the dining table. the purple kite. He peeled it with some difficulty because of its thick skin and began to eat it. They were now both sitting at the dining table. er.en8848. for instance -' For a while he gazed at the green citrus. some strips of newspaper stuck together in odd-looking twisted loops. several peels of musammis. and a purple kite. he looked at it wonderingly. a large number of toothpicks in various configurations. er. er. both of them were silent. Before Bhaskar left with Haresh. surface of it. Bhaskar said : 'Was that the right answer ?' 'More or less. 'Well. and held out both hands for a segment.in a triangle. an inverted ashtray.several musammis. following a mysterious train of thought. When he and Bhaskar were left alone. more or less. er.'More or less. After a while. musammi.' said Dr Durrani. he got the sense 301 that he was an unwelcome interruption. when Haresh returned. Neither Dr Durrani nor Bhaskar thanked each other for the time they had spent together.' said Dr Durrani. 'Would you. Once it had served his purpose. 'Yes. and exactly sixteen toothpicks. It was clear from the tone of his answer. he took with him the loops of newspaper.

cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . He had been strict in his demands.en8848. I'm afraid so.did not think this mattered. Haresh Bhai. She was entertaining herself with a song.there were no bubbles or wrinkles. The finishing was fine. Haresh came to collect the shoes and the lasts.' he promised.' Veena said. Though Bhaskar did not say anything when he got home.com. The song went as follows : 302 Ram Ram Shah. his mother could tell from one glance at his face that he had had a wonderfully stimulating time.11 MEANWHILE. Alu ka rasa. 4. and clapped her hands at his arrival. but now he gave Jagat Ram one-and-a-half times as much as he had promised him by way of payment. 'that's more than I can.Chutney made from female frogAa gaya nasha! Drink it. she thanked Haresh. Haresh Sahib.' said Haresh with a smile.' 第 99 页 共 293 页 http://www. Then. I can tell what this has meant to him. 'Well. 'You're really leaving today? A pity. The lasting had been carefully done . the brogues were sitting on their lasts in Jagat Ram's workshop. and since he was there. I certainly hope so. almost with tears in her eyes. down to the coloration of the leather of the punched brogue. They were well made. 'It's so kind of you to have taken this trouble. 'Well.' 'Yes. though on the simple sewing machine in front of him. She took his various objects off him and told him to wash his gummy hands.' said Jagat Ram. He was well pleased. Mendaki ki chatni. 'You will be hearing from me. Ram Ram Shah. Gravy made from spuds. On the appointed day at two o'clock. Jagat Ram's little daughter recognized him. she entertained him too. The uppers had been stitched excellently. Two days passed. and you're drunk! Haresh looked the shoes over with a practised eye.

I tried to hold onto the blade of the spear? I was in hospital for a month.' 'Well. 'I got those during Partition. 第 100 页 共 293 页 http://www.' 'I meant.' he said. 'And. I got a place in a convoy of army trucks and we got into the first truck . Nothing. Kedarnath continued.how did you get all those scars on the inside of your hands ? They don't look as if they've been caught in a machine .cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . it was a Baluchi regiment.' Kedarnath was silent for a few seconds. 'I have been meaning to ask you this for several days now . 'You already have. and took a tonga to the station to catch the evening train to Kanpur. went back to Sunil's.en8848. Haresh did a few chores. by way of business. But. shaking his hand warmly. I would have left in two days instead of four otherwise. could be safer.' 'I certainly hope so. said goodbye. He paused and continued. 'I hope I can be of some help to you. They stopped just before the Ravi Bridge. I thought.' Haresh's face betrayed his shock.someone's father. well.com.' With that they parted. 'At the time that we were forced to flee from Lahore.'And you stayed on just for this ?' 'Yes. My younger brother has marks on his back and I have these on my palms and my wrist . and Muslim ruffians came from behind the timber yards there and started butchering us with their spears.' said Kedarnath. if I can help you in any way -' They shook hands.my younger brother and I.' said Haresh. made a few small purchases. returned his brogues. well. closing his eyes.they'd be scarred on both sides if they had. 'Tell me -' said Haresh suddenly. I hope they like this pair at CLFC. Veena tells me. as if adjusting 303 to a change of thought. but in a calm voice : 'Twenty or thirty people were slaughtered in two minutes . On the way he stopped at Kedarnath's to thank him. packed.

his train was leaving soon.I'd sent them on by train a little earlier. his coolie was already quite far ahead of him. Besides. The Muslim trader who used to own my shop here in Brahmpur .cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . 305 Part Five 5. I still miss Lahore. the stench of fish. well. stopped him from doing so.that's all right.' said Haresh. He touched an agate cuff-link and wondered at its coolness. the buzz of flies. not being tall. he noticed a young woman in a light blue cotton sari standing near her mother. Bhaskar was only six at the time. Not that the trains were safe either. 'No. The young woman seemed to be determinedly fighting back some sadness that went beyond the normal sadness of parting at a railway platform.' 'I don't know if I should have asked these questions. 'But you'd better hurry or you'll miss your train. was concerned that he might lose him in the crowd.en8848. And. though after all that happened there. The mother's back was turned towards Haresh. Haresh felt tired. The problems at Misri 第 101 页 共 293 页 http://www. almost despair. no . but something in the girl's expression of inwardness. so he could not get a proper glimpse of her. the whistles of incoming trains. and I'm here to tell you the story.' Brahmpur Junction was as crowded and noisy and smelly as ever: hissing clouds of steam.it did not catch at his heart as did the photograph he kept with him .well? Strange. as these things go.' 'Where was the family ?' asked Haresh.' said Kedarnath. the scurrying babble of passengers. the looters fled. The English 304 teacher whom he had met at Sunil's party was seeing them off on the down train to Calcutta. 'In the other trucks ?' 'No . Haresh thought of pausing for a little to re-introduce himself to the young lecturer. hawkers' shouts.someone's daughter By the greatest of luck a Gurkha regiment was coming from the other side and they began to fire. and Haresh.1 SOME riots are caused. It was not classically beautiful . The daughter's face was striking. Glancing at the crowd. feeling atypically embarrassed.but it had a quality of such attractive intensity that Haresh stopped for a second.com. some bring themselves into being. Though it was past six o'clock it was still very warm. as you know. We were fortunate.

They laughed uncontrollably.his employer the trader did not like to touch shoes because he felt they would pollute him.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . He overheard a comment from behind him about the sharp practice of his employer. sometimes singing. they also knew . A few days after Haresh left. literally in front of them. The jatavs knew that the breakdown of the trade in Misri Mandi had particularly hurt those traders who had overextended themselves on the chit system. 'I bet he'd rather be doing another kind of wrestling. they imagined insults. then tottered and staggered out. laughed. cried. The strike meant less money but more time for everyone. 第 102 页 共 293 页 http://www. The previous evening there had been a fight inside a cheap drinking place along the unpaved road that led towards the tannery from Old Brahmpur. but not exclusively so.was full of armed police. he fell onto the floor. waving him away with the airy gesture of a trader rejecting a basket on the basis of a single faulty pair. The three men at the table behind him laughed.com.' taunted the first man. the heart of Misri Mandi . however. and they did not have the money to buy the pakoras and other snacks that could have settled it. That it had hurt themselves still more. It was he who used to take the shoes from their baskets when they scurried desperately in the evening to Misri Mandi . Knocking his bench over as he twisted around to see who was speaking. and they didn't care who was sitting at the plain wooden table next to them. 'He's wrestling with the air. it was. however. Here. and his hands clenched into a fist. They swore undying friendship. They drank. sometimes cursing.en8848.but for them it was not a case of the mighty being brought to their knees.including the area around Kedarnath's shop .' sneered another.Mandi were not expected to reach a point of violence. The assistant of a trader in Misri Mandi was in a foul mood because he was having a hard time with his father-in-law. The locally-distilled cheap alcohol had gone to their 309 heads. Drink equalized the drinkers. He was drinking alone and working himself into a generalized state of aggressiveness. so the kalari's joint was about as crowded as usual. they divulged confidences. They were jatavs who had dealt with him before. The place was mainly frequented by jatavs.' jeered one. 'But would he be any good at it ? They say that's why he has trouble at home ' 'What a reject.

These jatavs had disrupted the trade of the city long enough with their frivolous complaints and their mischievous strike. ran to the local police station for reinforcements. Others supplied him with election 第 103 页 共 293 页 http://www. The crowd began to shout slogans. their eyes contemptuous.Their speech was slurred. The Chief Minister was out of town. The four rolled around on the floor. the Home Minister. Now they were threatening to block the entrance of the Govind Shoe Mart at the point where it joined the main road of Misri Mandi. One of the other traders tried to reason with the crowd. received a number of phone calls at home and decided that something by way of a salutary example needed to be provided. fighting. where the trader had his stall. and they began to beat people up indiscriminately. In his absence and because law and order lay in his domain . armed with short stout bamboo lathis. They had doubtless been stirred up by union leaders.the Home Minister ran things. The SP and the DM believed that things would blow over if neither side was provoked. Many traders there were already in financial straits. That night. did not think it necessary to go to the spot. L. every relevant authority knew about the matter : from the Superintendent of Police of the district to the Inspector-General of Purva Pradesh. tried to make peace. Agarwal himself came from a shopkeeping family and some of the traders were good friends of his. The man who had fallen lunged at them.N. The threatened picketing would finish them off. including the owner or kalari. L. A couple of policemen. Mahesh Kapoor. It ended with the man who had started the fight being beaten unconscious. heard about the unrest because part of Misri Mandi lay in his constituency. He '^5. Agarwal. He hurried to the spot and talked with the Superintendent of Police and the District Magistrate. and all of the others being injured. However. Everyone received different facts and interpretations.com. and had different suggestions for action or inaction. though Revenue 310 Minister.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . from the Home Secretary to the Home Minister. The crowd scattered. A couple of people. and they set upon him. part of whose constituency also lay in Misri Mandi. Surprisingly soon. They/round the stall closed. when he lost the sight of his eye.N. but most gathered around to enjoy the fun and shout drunken encouragement.en8848. sensing the crowd's mood. then threatened to burn the stall down. an ominous crowd of jatavs gathered at the/Govind Shoe Mart. One was bleeding from the eye and screaming in pain. and they set upon him. and not therefore directly concerned. Ten policemen now emerged.

en8848. may I suggest an alternative course of action. After a while he made as if to pick up the receiver again. ?: was directly in charge of the civil administration of Brahmpur District and. Krishan Dayal.maintained law and order. ?The SP is there. the order of society itself. and turned his attention to a file. But what would he have done had he been here ? As if B| in a dream. ^B The District Magistrate. He was to disperse any pickets forthwith. who was in his mid-thirties. that is enough surely. We are talking with the leaders of the crowd -' 第 104 页 共 293 页 http://www. It was not merely a question of law.com. but of order. The PA nervously handed him the receiver. would have felt in his place. that's who ?yes. It was a time not for talk but for action. He sat in thought for a while. then said: 'Sorry. Ten minutes later the young District Magistrate. the Home Minister conjured up the domed IL and severe head of his political mentor. ten minutes ?call me back. He had received three desperate calls from them. He is trying to conciliate -' 311 'Give me the phone. Krishan Dayal said in a strong voice. DM is out on the site.as the Superintendent of Police was referred to by everyone .' said the Home Minister in a calm voice. was on the phone.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 .funds. dead these four ^B months. is it a cinema show ?' He put down the phone and grasped the grey curls that curved like a horse-shoe around his otherwise bald head. f. ?Yes. together with the SP . but one which was fraught with concern: 'Sir. the late Sardar Patel. Sir. if necessary by reading out Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code . 'Who ? ?Where ? ?I am Agarwal speaking. Get Dayal at once. The line was unclear but the message disturbingly clear. The Home Minister told him to guard the entrance of the Govind Shoe Mart.and then firing if the crowd did not disperse. direct instructions ?I don't care. with respect. then decided against it. Surely this is what the Iron Man of India. Then he told his ^B personal assistant to get him the District Magistrate on the ^B phone. The PA tried to get through.

we may not be able to spare such a large number of police at short notice.' said L. Mr Dayal ?' 'No. are there.com.' There was a pause. It is best to keep them there for a true emergency. The Revenue Minister thinks that on Friday -' 'Are they there at the moment? I did not notice them this morning.' Krishan Dayal had been in the army during the war. I -' 'You have your instructions. but they are in the main police station in the Chowk area. He said. his face reddening which luckily the Home 第 105 页 共 293 页 http://www. and so on . I am in close touch with many members of the committee. Things are very tense.the MLA from the constituency contiguous to his own. it is spontaneous. at the site of the Shiva Temple in case of trouble.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . Sir. I want the SP to get the police stationed everywhere along the main road of Misri Mandi and to guard all entrances Govind Shoe Mart.as abrasive chance would have it .N. but there are leaders. 'No.' I. so it is sufficiently close to the temple site. calmly : 'Are you being witty.' said Krishan Dayal.'So there are leaders.you just do the needful. Brahmpur Shoe Mart.en8848. A number of policemen are stationed f 312. Sir. do you think I do not know the circumstances?' He had been irked by Dayal's reference to 'a true emergency' as much as by his mention of Mahesh Kapoor. but he was rattled by the Home Minister's calm air of almost dismissive interrogation and command. This is an emergency.JSI -A^car. I have discussed things with the Chief Secretary by phone.waJ J-efkcred 県 at it was puppies of the ilk of Krishan Dayal who used to lock him up in British jails. 'Yes. Sir. 'God will take care of the Shiva Temple. The Home Minister was about to put down the phone when the DM said : 'Sir. Sir. Agarwal in a relaxed but steely tone. his rival and . it is not spontaneous ?' 'Sir. I understand that the crowd is some three hundred strong.

after the first part of the prayers.was disputed land . The land that the kafirs sought to build on . He was a short. very far removed from his ordinary sermon on personal morality or cleanliness or alms or piety. 'And may I know how long the police are to remain there ?' 'Until further notice. They had brought their beastliness near the very precincts of the mosque itself. could not be immediately obtained indeed. Now. Let them do what they wanted to in their dens of filth.' said the Home Minister and put down the phone to preempt further backchat.2 ON Friday at the midday prayer the hereditary Imam of the Alamgiri Mosque gave his sermon. the Imam gave his audience the most stirring and inflammatory speech he had given in years. perhaps could not be obtained at all.but not in the eyes of animals who spent their time blowing conches and worshipping parts of the body whose very names it was shameful to mention. He did not like the way these so-called civil servants answered back to those above them in the chain of command . twenty years older than them. The 313 construction of the Shiva Temple was going ahead. however. no doubt.who were besides. but it was equally necessary that it should learn that it no longer ruled this country. 5. to their pictures and stones and perpetuated themselves in ignorance and sin. They prayed. his breathlessness gave the impression that he was choked with emotion. It was with dismay that many Muslims in Brahmpur had. Did the people of the faith gathered here in God's presence know how it was planned to consecrate this Shiva-linga? Naked ash-smeared savages would dance before it .why sought? were at this very moment building on . His congregation was tense already. The Imam's appeals to everyone from the Governor down had fallen on deaf ears. A legal case contesting the Raja of Marh's title to the land contiguous to the mosque had been instituted and was at present going through the lowest court. His grief and frustration as much as their own bitter anxiety called for something stronger.com.Minister could not see. seen the foundations of the temple rising in the plot to the west of their mosque. The barbarians were at the gates. over the months. 第 106 页 共 293 页 http://www. like the people of Sodom.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . who mocked at the power of the All-Merciful.naked! These were the shameless. these infidels. But God could see what was happening now. It was necessary to have an administrative service.en8848. but this did not stem his jerky crescendos of oratory. Their religion was in danger. Meanwhile the dungheap was growing before the Imam's agonized eyes.disputed in God's eyes and in man's eyes . If anything. plump man with short breath. A stay order on the construction of the temple.

com. 314 Those . 'But. but they are full of guile. and their eyes.let it not happen 第 107 页 共 293 页 http://www. Then they can attack and enslave us.idols with four heads and five heads and the heads of elephants . and have been kicked down at the very doors where we have gone pleading. | Without a doubt. attentive. Now it is too clear to us that we are living not in a land of protection but a land of enmity. 'even as I speak .' cried the Imam in renewed frenzy. 'we who have lived through hard and bitter times and have suffered for our faith and paid for our faith in blood need only remember the fate of the idolaters : I And they set up compeers to God.they could be hatching ^B their designs to prevent our evening devotion by blowing IK their conches to drown out the call to prayer. shocked expectation filled the silence 昄 that followed.en8848.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . when they turned their faces westwards in prayer to the Kaaba.?God guides not the people of the unbelievers. Ignorant they may be.and now the infidels who held power ? 摶 in the land wanted Muslims. They worshipped their hundreds of idols that they claimed were divine . H Say : 揟 ake your joy! Your homecoming I shall be -the Fire!? I ?A slow. The Home Minister himself supports this temple committee . to face these same idols and these same obscene objects with their heads bowed.they are the heedless ones .God has set a seal on their hearts. half^H gasping for air. I and those .' continued the Imam.and its guiding spirit is the debauched buffalo of Marh! Let it not happen that our holy places are to be polluted by the proximity of filth . They are already getting rid of Muslims in the police force so that the community of God will be left defenceless. in the world to come they will be the losers. and their hearing. We have appealed for justice. that ? they might lead astray from His way. ^B 'But even now.

1 Iram of the pillars.en8848. And not just ourselves.3 BECAUSE of the instructions of the Home Minister.if I God so wills . who hollowed the rocks in the valley. who weaken the religion of Muhammad. and led the people in more prayer. | and Thamood.will so be by our descendants also. where we have unrolled our mats and raised our hands in tears to the AllPowerful. God does so will. There were only about fifteen policemen left in the main police station in Chowk by evening. the greater part of the police was stationed at sensitive points in Misri Mandi.' The plump Imam descended from the pulpit. 1 and Pharaoh. 1 the like of which was never created in the land. the Lord of all Being.here he struggled for breath and emphasis again . which are worn smooth | by the devotions of our ancestors and ourselves and . peace be upon Him. 5. help those who help the religion of the Prophet 1 Muhammad. what can save us but our own efforts.'our own direct action . That evening there was a riot. 3 who all were insolent in the land J and worked much corruption therein? 1 Thy Lord unloosed on them a scourge of chastisement.to protect ourselves. he of the tent-pegs.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . our own' . Praise be to God. But have ] no fear. As the 第 108 页 共 293 页 http://www. God will be with! you: i Hast thou not seen how thy Lord did with Ad. j O God. May we also do the ?same. surely thy Lord is ever on the watch.com.but what can save us now that we are left defenceless before the sword of our 315 enemies in the land of the Hindus. not just our families but these few feet of paved earth that have been given to us for centuries. Make those weak. have no fear.

'Agarwal Sahib himself has phoned me. a few local hotheads and toughs stirred themselves and those around them into a state of rage. then they had coalesced into larger clusters. and it was no longer a collection but a thing wounded and enraged.' he assured the District Magistrate.com. Since the Superintendent of Police of the district was occupied in Misri Mandi. however. its density and speed and sense of indistinct determination increased.what he planned to do to protect the area. the sound of a conch was heard interrupting it several times.as the Deputy Superintendent of Police for the City was called . The kotwal of Brahmpur.' he said in a 第 109 页 共 293 页 http://www.call for prayer from the Alamgiri Mosque trembled across the evening sky. After the midday sermon most were in no mood to listen to any voice of moderation. No one knew how the men who were gathering in the narrow alleys of the Muslim neighbourhood that lay on one side of Chowk became a mob. When he heard about the Imam's sermon. the young District Magistrate. He feared the increased tension that Friday often brought. of course. and leaving the kotwali virtually in the charge of a head constable. There were cries of 'Allah-u-Akbar' which could be heard all the way to the police station. Normally such a thing might have been angrily shrugged off. One moment they were walking individually or in small groups through the alleys towards the mosque for evening prayer. Now he tells me I am to go to Misri Mandi to join the SP . by some unfortunate chance or possibly 316 I intentional provocation. the crowd increased in size as the alleys joined into larger alleys. and wanting nothing less than to wound and enrage. A few of those who joined the crowd had sticks in their hands. he asked the kotwal . 317 'There will be no trouble. with your leave. Sir. was a lazy man who wanted nothing better than to be left alone to take his bribes in peace. One or two even had knives. had himself gone to the tall pink edifice of the main police station about an hour earlier to ensure that things would remain stable in the Chowk area. excitedly discussing the ominous signals they had heard. taking two other lower officers with him. Krishan Dayal. Now it was not the mosque that they were headed for but the partly constructed temple just next to it. but not today.en8848. It was from here that the blasphemy had originated. believe me.' And he bustled off in a preoccupied sort of way. 'I will just be sending the Inspector back. Sir.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 .so I must be off. A couple of the more eager members of the Alamgiri Masjid Hifaazat Committee made a few crowdrousing remarks. it was this that must be destroyed.

he merely felt that tension was running high and that it was not worth taking a chance. 'You should not stay. This worried him mildly. I am glad to say. the DM urgently told the small force of twelve constables to stand with him in a line . After the previous troubles at the mosque we have defused the situation. after a while. First he heard the coinciding sounds of the conch and the muezzin's call to prayer. but the reports he had had of the Imam's speech had not included his prescient reference to a conch. thought he would wait until the Inspector returned before he decided whether to go home. Was there nothing better he could do than to perform this mad sacrificial duty of standing against a wall and facing overwhelming odds? The constables under his effective command were Muslims and Rajputs. As the cries of 'Allah-u-Akbar! Allah-uAkbar!' came closer. Then. The police force before Partition was very largely composed of Muslims as the result of the sound imperialist policy of divide and rule: it helped the British that the predominantly Hindu Congress-wallahs should be beaten up by predominantly Muslim policemen.com.but the direction of the heads of the spectators from the rooftops would give its position away.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 .reassuring manner. and would wait for him. He believed that the Home Minister had his priorities wrong where Chowk and Misri Mandi were concerned. Even after the exodus to Pakistan in 1947 there were large numbers of Muslims in the force. They would not be happy to fire upon other 第 110 页 共 293 页 http://www.rifles at the ready . mainly Muslims. it was not necessary to phone her. He did not actually expect a riot. This is a peaceful time.it was three storeys high .before the foundations and rudimentary walls of the site of the Shiva Temple. His wife was used to him coming back at odd hours. he could tell what was being shouted by the direction from which it came and the general shape and fervour of the sound.to judge where the mob now was. Even before he could make out the individual syllables. He was sitting and waiting in this unworried but uneasy frame of mind when he heard what was to be recalled by several policemen at the subsequent inquiry the inquiry by a senior officer that is required to be held after every magisterial order to fire. but then the Home Minister was arguably the most powerful man in the state next to the Chief Minister. Sir.hidden as it was by the intervening houses of the labyrinthine alleys . left with a force of about twelve constables. The mob 318 itself would be invisible . 'It is late.' Krishan Dayal. came the distant murmur of shouting voices interspersed by high cries. The thought flashed through his mind that despite his training in the army he had not learned to think tactically in a terrain of urban lawlessness.' he added ingratiatingly. and he himself was just a DM. He sent a policeman to the top of the police station .en8848.

they would be upon them in two or three minutes. it must have struck him as strange that he was about to die shooting Muslims in the course of defending a half-built Hindu temple that was an affront to the very mosque in which he himself often prayed. The mob was less than a minute 第 111 页 共 293 页 http://www. pistol in hand. But he felt more vulnerable than ever before in his life.en8848. His wandering thoughts were brought back to earth by the head constable who was addressing him urgently. and made straight for the temple. He himself stood there. the patently. about twenty feet from the bend itself. Now that he knew he might be dead in a few minutes^ dead if he fired.the young DM gave his wife a brief thought. broke into a charge.'^ %3(tfw ham many we are. pathetically ineffective police force would be overwhelmed.' He turned to the others. together with a force on which he could absolutely rely. 'Sahib!' 'Yes . if you take my advice -' said the head constable quickly. but he had reservations about the 'absolutely' . and finally an old schoolmaster of his who had once confiscated a blue toy pistol that he had brought to class. 'we should not stand here where we will be overpowered. and the 'almost' worried him. Once the mob. ana they won't know what's hit them. We should stand in wait for them just before they turn the last bend before the temple . Th&y.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . There's a ninety-nine per cent chance they will disperse. In a strong voice he told the policemen that they were to fire when he gave the order. still a few alleys away.' The astonished DM said to the head constable: 'You should have my job. came round the final bend.and just as they turn the bend we should charge and fire simultaneously. They stationed themselves on either side of the alley. 'What do you think?' Krishan Dayal said in a voice that made things quite clear. could almost always carry the day. who appeared petrified. and that 319 judging by their speed .you are determined to shoot if necessary?' The head constable was a Muslim .com. A couple of men had just come running to tell him that there were perhaps a thousand men in the mob. dead if he did not . WOT. it was necessary to give the impression that you were prepared to do so.Muslims. He immediately ordered them to run with him towards the bend. 'Do I need to repeat my orders?' 'Sahib. Krishan Dayal believed in general that although it was not always necessary to give effect to maximum force. He told himself that a good officer. that they were well-armed. then his parents.yes?' 'Sahib .

A couple of women were wailing in nearby houses. Slippers and sticks were scattered here and there. possibly deaths. No one wanted to be brought to the attention of the police. There was blood in several places in the alley. an old man with a white beard. 5. He did so because he liked visiting her and her husband.com. still. He was a placid.away. his married daughter Priya. rather. At the last moment he gave the signal. He worked mainly on civil. Agarwal's daughter lived in Old Brahmpur in the Shahi Darvaza area. a lawyer with a practice concentrated mainly in the District Court . The DM looked around at his men. None of them was injured.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . A couple of them were trembling. Within thirty seconds it had melted away. most of them were jubilant. hundreds strong. bland-featured man. the other. had fallen and been crushed by the retreating mob. and with 第 112 页 共 293 页 http://www. Priya lived in a joint family which included her husband's brothers and their wives and children. Friends or members of their families had probably dragged the bodies back into the doorways of neighbouring houses.N.N. L. halted. then stopped.4 THE next day L. Agarwal visited his only child. faced 32. staggered. he could feel the vibration of the ground as hundreds of feet rushed forward. He could hear it screaming and yelling. and were making his life miserable with their misery. He caught the head constable's eye. Her husband was Ram Vilas Goyal. not criminal cases. Otherwise. injured. and also to escape from the panicstricken MLAs of his faction who were desperately worried about the aftermath of the firing in Chowk. turned and fled. good-natured. The wild and dangerous mob. perhaps fatally. He was badly.0 t If with this sudden terror. so it ?was apparent that there had been other injuries. sparing with his words. Both of them started laughing with relief.en8848. not far from Misri Mandi where her childhood friend Veena Tandon lived. It was uncanny. The thirteen men roared and charged and fired. Two bodies were left in the street: one young man had been shot through the neck and was dying or dead. everything was peaceful or.though he did appear in the High Court from time to time.

of the families of the three brothers. She would look longingly towards the small house just a few minutes' walk away . In Priya's own household there was no question of that.com. respectively. was not well off any longer. It was a long roof. since it covered three contiguous narrow houses. Ram Vilas was the middle brother and he occupied the two rooms of the top floor of the middle 'house'. it would cause pain to his father and stepmother and grandfather and elder brother . Ram Vilas. that and a calm family background and the peaceful ratchet of routine. and was treated as such by the family and the neighbours. and his sister. seen in the market would have been disgraceful. That she was thirty-two years old with a girl of ten and a boy of eight was irrelevant. she knew. but she was free to do as she pleased : to go to the market. She had never done so until she came to 第 113 页 共 293 页 http://www. to go for music lessons.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . Priya Goyal for her part was a fiery spirit. she paced fiercely along the roof.1 Law and a little business on the side was enough for him . more importantly. When she paced up and down the roof. connected lengthways at each of the three storeys. In effect the whole operated as one large house. Veena. who had been given that title by the British. Priya Goyal would picture herself as a panther in a cage. On the ground floor were a number of store-rooms and the servants' quarters. would have none of it. For a daughter-in-law from the house of the Rai Bahadur to be 322. ever placid. It was known locally as the Rai Bahadur's house because Ram Vilas Goyal's grandfather (still alive at eighty-eight). had bought and restructured the property half a century ago. It was simply not his way . even impious Priya rarely visited).en8848. his father and stepmother.only a mild interest in politics. Priya hated living in a joint family. Above this was the roof with its washing lines and water tanks.and Ram Vilas sincerely believed in maintaining the decencies of a joint family. On the top floor were the rooms. His co?leagues respected him for his scrupulous honesty and hi's slow but clear-headed legal abilities. to walk around by herself. The common kitchen was also located on this floor as was the puja room (which the unpious. which he expected Priya to provide. 32. winter or summer. Every morning. refrained from giving advice. On the floor above lived Ram Vilas's ancient grandfather. and had no passion for politics.and just visible through the jungle of intervening roofs in which her childhood friend Veena Tandon lived. the Rai Bahadur. And his father-in-law the Home Minister enjoyed talking to him : he maintained confidences.

This was because her father. he lived in two rooms in a hostel for Members of the Legislative Assembly. L. the neighbourhood. He did not understand her but he was understanding.live with the Goyals of Shahi Darvaza. He tried to make things easier for her in small ways. but for once Priya had refused to go along. He dismissed his rickshaw near the local market. every day. Ram Vilas's stepmother had even tried to dissuade her from her daily to-ing and fro-ing ('Just think.com. but she felt that in some ways it was getting more and more intolerable as time went on. But perhaps the old witch sensed that she had driven Priya to the limit. and he in his turn had only had the one daughter.they require the most adjustment. Although Home Minister. He was a man of spartan habits.home to run away to with her children for at least a month a year . all the time . and she 32. how will it look to the neighbours?').where she was not even permitted to* have a garden. But she had to pretend she did. When his wife died.her mother-in-law. maternal .and more importantly. and her husband's elder brother's wife . she liked the ancient Rai Bahadur. had been the only son to survive to adulthood. Also. her grandfather-in-law. and had taken the Gandhian vow of sexual abstinence. Her father loved her dearly as his only child . The sisters-in-law above whose heads she paced at dawn reported her to their mother-inlaw.' Priya had been told . and did not phrase her complaint in a direct manner again. she had no proper paternal . her husband's sister. Unlike Veena. he had been stricken. Lakshmi Narayan Agarwal. and now. and he never once raised his voice. Anything indirect on the matter Priya chose not to understand.except when she paced up and down on the roof . she felt she would have gone mad. Agarwal came dressed as always in an immaculately starched (but not fancy) kurta.3 could not stand them. Even her grandparents (with whom she had spent the time when her father was in jail) were now dead. Below the white cap could be seen his curve of curly grey hair but not the baldness it enclosed. some would say dominated. Whenever he ventured out to Shahi Darvaza he kept his cane handy to scare away the monkeys that frequented. and turned off the main road into a tiny side-lane which opened 第 114 页 共 293 页 http://www. dhoti and Congress cap. living in austerity as he did. Priya.N.en8848. If her husband had not been so kind. on the grounds that it would attract mon-* keys.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 .had done their best to make her miserable as a young bride. he could not himself provide her with any refuge. 'The first years of married life are the hardest .the prerogative of all married women. There was a spark to him. for it had imbued her with a spirit of independence. The rest of the family and particularly the women . it was his love that had in a sense spoiled her for the constrained life of the Goyal joint family.

and about the antics of the old servants of the Goyal household.' replied Priya. 'First give me some tea.4 ft* 'Don't bother yet. Her father embraced her and they went upstairs again. 'And where has Vakil Sahib disappeared?' he asked in Hindi. although the appellation was equally appropriate to Ram Vilas's father and grandfather. One entire side of the square was the Rai Bahadur's house. as some fathers-in-law had.en8848. 第 115 页 共 293 页 http://www. a little about Priya's mother in passing. He liked to refer to his son-in-law as the lawyer. 'He was here a minute ago. who preferred. The door below the stairs was kept closed because of the monkeys. at the mention of whom a sadness came into both their eyes. she quickly coiled her loose black hair into a bun and came downstairs to open the door. some minutes with his grandson and granddaughter. As they talked. Agarwal. and he rapped on it with his cane.maybe by his daughter herself. saw them. who did not like climbing stairs. drink and hospitality at his son-inlaw's house. however.N.' said her father in a warm.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . to play with their friends in the heat on the roof or below in the square (his granddaughter was good at street cricket) . other people passed the open door of the room. He talked with Priya about his health and his grandchildren and their schooling and character.com. 32. He had no compunction. rather a helpless character who was terrorized by his second wife. about accepting food.' For a few minutes the Home Minister enjoyed home comforts : well-made tea (not the useless stuff he got at the MLA hostel) . They included Ram Vilas's father. about how Vakil Sahib was working far too hard.out into a small square. 'But where is Vakil Sahib?' repeated L. In the middle of the square was a large pipal tree. whom he saw rarely enough and missed a great deal. relaxed voice. and got up to search for him. A couple of faces appeared at the enclosed wrought-iron balconies of the floors above. Soon the whole Goyal clan had dropped by except for the Rai Bahadur. His daughter's face lit up when she saw him . sweets and kachauris made by the women of his daughter's house . and came in. and a few words with his daughter.

paid his respects and had respects paid to him. being of the middle generation.' 'Why don't I go down and pay my respects to the Rai Bahadur now?' said L. 'he's downstairs talking with the Rai Bahadur.' said the creaky voice.' 'Since when have Leaders of the People placed a limit on their tea-consumption?' asked the Rai Bahadur in a creaky and lucid voice. 'A few.' he said. We are an ill-disciplined people. He would probably get enough of that on the floor of the House on Monday. 'what is all this killing you've been doing in Chowk?' It was not meant the way it sounded.' he continued. Agarwal could have done without direct examination. Matters are well in hand.' he continued. The lathi and the gun are the only things that will teach us discipline.' 'In British days law and order was not such a problem.' said L.N.N. nothing.mainly because he was attached to the beautiful peacock tiles that decorated the fireplace. He knows you are in the house and he will come up as soon as he is released. it will all blow over. whicrj had about the same level of mock deference as 'Vakil Sahib'. 'No.'Oh. Agarwal. Downstairs.' said the old Rai Bahadur philosophically. he was not sure that the remark was not delivered innocently. grandfather and grandson were talking in the large room that the Rai Bahadur had reserved as his own . The Home Minister did not rise to the Rai Bahadur's bait. an unloading of his troubled mind. Agarwal. L.' said someone. and got up. ruminating on the fact that he had misjudged the situation. 'Nothing.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . The word he used was 'Neta-log'. What he would have preferred was a quiet chat with his placid son-in-law. 'This is a hard town to manage. In fact. 'Now.N.com. 'If it isn't one thing it's another.N. but L. not that many. 'Of course you'll have tea?' said the Rai Bahadur. tell me. 'I heard that twenty Muslims were killed. 'I've had some upstairs. 第 116 页 共 293 页 http://www.en8848. Agarwal.' He paused. it was merely the old Rai Bahadur's style of speech.

N. Agarwal shook his head. 'I just tell them whatever is necessary to stop them from keeping me awake.' he responded. in what numbers? One or two gentlemen have even asked if there is the danger of further conflagration . there it is. then went on.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 .' ventured the Rai Bahadur.though usually this is the least of their concerns. She poured the tea.en8848.' 'And what do you tell them when they come running to you?' asked the Rai Bahadur. The thread of the conversation had been lost.' 'Nothing?' 'No. after a pause. The top of her head was covered with her sari.had just brought in the tea. 'Yes. The Chief Minister goes out of town for a few days and see what happens in his absence! What will Sharmaji say when he comes back? What capital will Mahesh Kapoor's faction make out of all this? In Misri Mandi they will emphasize the lot of the jatavs.the arch-witch in Priya's demonology . It is the politics. He rubbed his perimeter of hair in a thoughtful way. They were in a state of panic. Just that things will blow over .' said L. nothing. perhaps remembering the cross-examinations for which he had been famous in his prime. 'Mahesh Kapoor's daughter was here the other day. the politicians . and went out. as if the separate plates of his aged face were gradually reconfiguring themselves with difficulty.N. This too was 3z6 somewhat creaky. that what's done is done. nothing much. Surely this could not be an innocent comment. exchanged a couple of words. she is a good girl. drew it gently back again. L. His daughter-in-law . Will these votebanks swing away from the Congress? If so. Then. it is not the tension that disturbs me. but the Rai Bahadur.N.' The Rai Bahadur allowed himself a smile.com.'Still. Or was it? Perhaps the Rai Bahadur was merely following a train of thought. 第 117 页 共 293 页 http://www. in Chowk that of the Muslims. gave them a sharp look. Ten Misri Mandis and twenty Chowks are nothing. What will the effect of all this be on the jatav vote and the Muslim vote? The General Elections are just a few months away. he added calmly: 'I can handle the town. 'Until two this morning the MLAs were gathering around me like chicks around their mother. Agarwal.' said L. 'Oh. Agarwal quite calmly.

these' .that a little discipline never did a neighbourhood any harm. it was an emergency. once he nodded. the wholesale shoe market had finally ground from a slowdown to a complete halt. ? Ram Vilas Goyal had sat silent through the whole exchange. With the pickets and the stationing of the police in Chowk. Priya was talking to Veena. 'He's not dumb. Going to his father-in-law was for him out of the 第 118 页 共 293 页 http://www. She had come home and found Kedarnath not merely with his eyes closed but with his head in his hands. who made shoes to order. 'That is what I like about my son-in-law. But the immediate problem was how to pay for the chits 3*8 that were coming due. 搊 ut s'ne had eventually discovered that he was in very grave financial trouble. that the General Elections are still far enough away. had deferred paying him for past supplies because they thought he could not ensure future supplies. he needed the shoes of the basket-wallahs. we will be too.his expression' conveyed distaste at the words .com. and he just did not have the cash to pay them. He had 镲 ot wanted to ta\k about it. particularly two large stores in Bombay. To fulfil the orders that buyers around the country had placed with him. And if we have a bad monsoon. But it was more than a social visit. Bihar is virtually starving. Agarwal.' reflected L.N. 5.'these scheduled caste people are becoming a problem once again. This was far worse than his general state of optimistic anxiety. were not enough. Priya could provoke. who had come to pay her a visit. all his associates were themselves short of cash. let's see. upstairs.5 MEANWHILE.' L. If Nehru were not so softhearted we would have dealt with them properly a few| years ago. but he doesn't speak. He had no one to go to. Veena was very distressed. Once he frowned slightly. Agarwal sipped his tea before continuing : 'The fact of the matter is that the country has far more important things to think about. Every day now his chits were corning due. Mere 317 Muslims threatening us from inside the country or across the border we can deal with.N. That sort of thing. And now these jatavs. Those who owed him money.' He decided yet again that he had made the right match for his daughter. and he would simply not allow himself to be provoked. Food is the main one. But let's see. and they did not dare come to Misri Mandi these days.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 .en8848. The supplies he got from people like Jagat Ram.

He was at his wits' end. I don't believe you. but to ask her how best to sell the jewellery she had got from her mother upon her marriage . no matter what. 'In fact. and I can't go out. The monkeys can't come in. He would try once more to talk to his creditors . are you mad?' asked Veena. talking politics. told her to have courage.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . because there was no privacy in the house.question. It only asked two questions : 'What interest?' and 'What risk?' Veena had not come to Priya for financial help. I envy you. And look at these bars on the balcony.' said Priya. 'My father's here.and I know which I'd prefer.' 'I'm scared of your monkeys. This situation would surely not last long.en8848. She had only two requests . He would try to persuade them that it would do no one any good to drive him and others like him to the wall in a credit squeeze. say.' Priya said. unlike labour.that her husband not find out until the jewellery had actually been sold. Every piece meant so much to her that she started crying when she thought of losing it. and could flow out of shoes and into. 'What. Only a little had remained from the traumatic days after the family's flight from Lahore.' 'We will always be friends.com. 'Downstairs.' said Veena as a second 3*9 line of defence. Priya hugged her friend.the moneylenders who held his chits and their commission agents who came to him for payment when they were due.' 第 119 页 共 293 页 http://www. and that for a few weeks at least her father and mother should not know. She had brought the jewellery with her.and to weep on her shoulder. Look at me. You can walk over by yourself any time. Shahi Darvaza should be renamed Hanuman Dwar. 'Why not? It's either heat-stroke or interruption by my mother-in-law . 'First they fight on the roof of the daal factory. They talked quickly. But even as he spoke he knew what their answer would be. He knew that money. and at any moment anyone could walk into Priya's room. then they leap over onto your roof.' said Veena suddenly. cold storage facilities without retraining or compunction or doubt. He was not insolvent. and started crying again. just illiquid. owed no allegiance to a particular trade. and suggested a brisk walk on the roof.' ? 'You're not scared of anything. in this heat.

' They were silent for a while. 'Why don't you stay for lunch?' asked Priya. 'No. who would be expecting her. 'How is Bhaskar?' asked Priya. rather a sad one.' Veena added suddenly.' 'Now if you talk like that I'm going to leave at once. He insisted on coming along.as well as your pair. together with two others. which gave the otheis endless trouble. Priya.'Ah. She was a fair bowler and a fine batsman. The pipal tree doesn't seem to bother them I wish for your sake. As she stood by the cupboard Veena said : 'You're putting on weight. who locked it up in a steel almirah.' said Priya. Seeing you has cheered me up.' 'Tomorrow then.' Veena left the bag of jewellery with Priya.' said Veena and made to go. anyway.' 'I've always been fat. 'you shouldn't envy me.' said Priya.en8848.' 'You're not fat and you never have been. thinking of her own childhood. 'but one day I'm going to throw myself off it. She usually managed to avoid the pipal tree. Their three children.com. Priya's ten-year-old daughter was by far the best of them.' said Veena. 'I can't. I've grown fatter. thinking of Kedarnath and her mother-in-law. 'I hope you have lots 第 120 页 共 293 页 http://www.' said Veena. 'He's very well . that you had a brother or sister. The two friends went to the balcony and looked down through the wrought-iron grille. 'and because I do nothing but sit here all day like a caged bird. 'And since when have you stopped pacing on the roof?' 330 'I haven't. were playing cricket in the small square.' said her friend. 'Tomorrow perhaps.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . Veena's plump face lit up in a smile.' said Priya. don't go. At the moment they are all playing cricket in the square downstairs.

she'll make him as dark as soot. 'She had a hard time during Partition. they sat in the shade of the water-tank and started laughing like schoolgirls.? 揙 friend 331 Pumpkin. If it hadn't been for Partition you'd never have come back to Brahmpur.' Bablu was the weird fifty-year-old servant who had come to the family as a child and had grown more eccentric with each passing year. Lately he had taken to eating everyone's medicines.com. 'I'll tell Bablu to get us something cold to prevent heat-stroke. Tell everyone I died miserably. even after Bhaskar was born.' continued Priya.?' Priya giggled. which she had washed and oiled that morning. I feel quite sorry for my scarecrow. forgive me.' She laughed.en8848. shaking out her jet black hair. and the vegetables can join us in complaining about our oppression. 'it'll be fine. Farewell. 第 121 页 共 293 页 http://www. let's go to the roof. 'We should live next to each other. and pulled Veena to her feet.' 'It would be awful if we lived next to each other. 'Come on.of bad fortune. 揙. 'No. When she sees I'm not miserable she becomes even more miserable. even if I throw myself off my roof. One day I'll explode and she'll dance over my bones.' said Priya. the khatri scarecrow is boiling me. 'The witch and the scarecrow would get together every afternoon and complain about their daughters-in-law. if I don't tell you I'll burst. I'm so unhappy. never forget me. Forgive me.' she said. I'll fall onto yours.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . And she sings on the roof so shamelessly to the whole neighbourhood. the bania witch has spared me for only another two days. 'Actually.' said Veena. The two kitchens will face each other. they play chaupar on the roof all the time.' she said. But she was quite horrible to me even in Lahore. I'll weep for you but I won't be able to attend your chautha. she's bewitched my son. 'Then. friend Potato. 揙. I hate it here.?' . laughing. When we become mothers-in-law. And she deliberately prepares rich food so that I fill up with gas. People are always coming in and listening from the balcony. Veena's laughter bubbled out again.' Veena laughed. Then you'll come running to me all the time. 'I really can't talk freely to you here. When they got to the roof. farewell.

gripping with four dirty fingers of one hand four glasses of cold nimbu pani filled almost to the brim. 'Tell me. so she took some musammis and bananas and carrots and tried to tempt them down. come.' Then he disappeared. 'And I shall certainly bully my daughter-inlaw from morning till night until I've completely crushed her spirit. 'Here!' he said.' 'I was just going to. examining them. 'Drink! If you sit in the sun like this. with both hands. 'This is a vile house. like this . beautiful ones. you'll catch pneumonia.' Bablu had come up the stairs.en8848. I'd ?do you know what the monkeys did here the other day?' 'No.com. 揗 mmmmmm? 揗 mmmmmmm? in a high-pitched voice. 揥 ell? We have your clocks. as if to say. we'll feed our daughters-in-law ghee and sugar every day.' said Veena. come. 第 122 页 共 293 页 http://www. the next thing we saw was three monkeys in the pipal tree. first with one hand. and what they can't. I swear by Hanuman I'll give you lovely things to eat ?And they came down all right. Then they began to eat the food. They know what they can hold up to ransom. But the monkeys of Shahi Darvaza are very smart. Women look much more beautiful when they're unhappy. I'd snap at the bats. 'I'd much rather be a monkey and fight on the roof of the daal factory than a daughter-in-law in the Rai Bahadur's house. here. placed the Rai Bahadur's alarm clocks on the ledge. come. who is getting crazier by the minute. I'd fight the dogs. I'd run to the market and steal bananas. We didn't have the little packets of wheat which we usually bribe them with. setting them down. Well. putting the clocks down.Well . 332.no sooner were all three clocks on the ground than the witch took a stick which she had hidden behind her back and threatened their lives with it using such filthy language that I was forced to admire her. each with a clock tucked beneath his arm. 揌 ere. don't they say in English? So the story has a happy ending. saying. saying.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . don't you think?' She shook her thick black hair from side to side and glared at the stairs.' said Priya disgustedly.' 'I certainly don't feel sorry for my witch. What now??The witch went out. one by one they came down. very cautiously. 'The same as ever?' asked Veena.Priya. Bablu. I'd go to Tarbuz ka Bazaar and pinch the bottoms of all the pretty prostitutes.then.' she added. The carrot and the stick.

where it could not be seen. 'I have a habit of blabbering. Topaz. Veena -' she said. What people will do for money. 'I think our fathers are mad to dislike each other so much. 'I'll try. I think he'll disappear. They gossiped on : Maan and Saeeda Bai .'The same. especially for my navratan? Will you be able to get a few minutes with him alone so that your mother-in-law doesn't come to know? If I had to go to a jeweller myself I'd certainly be cheated. And what does it go into? Not into education or art or music or literature . each the setting of a different precious stone. at secondhand. 'Nothing changes. pearl. Sometimes at night when the bed vibrates. But you know all about these things. ruby. And you should see them all sizing each other up. diamond.' said Priya out of the blue.' she said. catseye and coral: instead of looking cluttered and disordered. The navratan was a lovely piece. Mrs Rupa Mehra. And the women of the house have to wear ten tons of it on their necks at every wedding. But suddenly Bablu's large head and rounded 第 123 页 共 293 页 http://www. white ' sapphire. Tell me to be quiet. well.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . emerald. it all goes into jewellery. Savita's pregnancy .' Priya nodded. I can't tell you.' she added darkly. even. 'But tell me. when the jeweller comes to your house next time will you be able to get an estimate? For the small pieces . the Nawab Sahib's daughter and whether her situation in purdah was worse than Priya's . suddenly realizing her insensitivity. For Veena it had more than that: of all her mother's gifts it was the one she loved most. she had last seen it round Veena's neck at Pran and Savita's wedding. and all that will be left for me to weep over will be his snore. and how she was trying to corrupt her samdhins by teaching them rummy. but even more so. Oh.' 'No. It consisted of an arc of nine 333 square gold compartments. But I can't tell you some of the things that go on in this house. no.no.and. blue sapphire. 'Who cares who the next Chief Minister of Purva Pradesh will be?' Veena nodded as she sipped Jier nimbu pani. the heavy necklace had a wonderful combination of traditional solidity and charm. 'You're lucky you don't have much money. 'What news of Maan?' asked Priya.com. with delicate enamel work at the sides and even on the back. I'm enjoying it. The only comforting constant here is that Vakil Sahib snores as loudly as ever.en8848. Veena.' said Priya. They had forgotten about the world.' said Veena.

you aren't considered much of a man if you don't slap your wife around a couple of times. Veena felt that he had been reminded the instant he saw her of the ministerial rival whose daughter she really was. She pressed herself against the wall and said namast? He acknowledged the greeting with a 'Jeeti raho. and went up.' said Veena. 'What? By himself?' said Veena anxiously. frowning. but Ram Vilas wouldn't even beat a drum at Dussehra. he's not so particular. and they informed Veena that Bhaskar had gone back home.' said the boy. if you can't stay. Wifebeating is something of a common 334 sport in our neighbourhood. If he wasn't so good. She does it for purity. I can't go out.' Veena promised. And so does the Snorer. 第 124 页 共 293 页 http://www. you must come tomorrow. though she's only his stepmother. do stay for lunch.N. and it's five minutes away.com. But though he had addressed her as 'daughter'.' said Priya with a start. Oh. 'He's nine years old. Veena. 'My duties in the kitchen . 'The Sleeper likes his food just so. But I can't go out. 'Speak properly to your elders. and the two friends went down to the room on the top floor. I'm sure. They say he's so nice to witnesses that they tell him the truth .since I've been talking to you. I never get to see you!' 'I really can't. I can't go out anywhere except for weddings and the odd trip to the temple or a religious fair and you know what I think of those.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . And he's so respectful to the witch it makes me sick.en8848.shoulders appeared at the top of the stairs. and she's yelling for me. I've got to run. so she says though she doesn't mind that we have cockroaches the size of buffaloes running around all over the house. Agarwal coming up.' said Veena. bed'. they've gone straight out of my head.' said Priya. The stairs were narrow and steep. 'Shh!' said Priya.even though they're in court! Well. and rats that bite off your hair at night if you don't wash the oil off. On the way down. I would go completely mad. Veena met L. Priya's daughter and son were sitting on the bed. My mother-in-law must have finished her stupid rigmarole of cooking her own food in a wet dhoti after her bath. 'Oh my God. Promise me again. 'He puts up with all my nonsense.' 'Oh.' 'I'd better go at once.

'that on the same evening. a short.N.' he stated. who asked his questions in standard Hindi but with a strong Brahmpuri accent with his arms folded across his chest. one inch thick. Shri Ram Dhan continued: 'Is it a fact that the honourable Home Minister was in constant touch with the local authorities of 第 125 页 共 293 页 http://www. being hard pressed by an angry mob. and he stressed the word 'jatavs'. 'Is it a fact. got to his feet. ? would advise him to be more just to the police. A kind of indignant murmur rose from all around the House. defended themselves and. if you like. in the course of this action.com. and of the public. As for the honourable member's innuendo that the police singled out members of a particular caste from the mob or were especially severe because the mob consisted 'largely or members of that caste. Let me assure him that the action would have been no different had the mob been constituted differently. The Speaker called for order.' Limpet-like. three people were injured. the police beat up a large number of jatavs who were peacefully attempting to picket the Brahmpur Shoe Mart nearby?' Shri Ram Dhan was an Independent MLA from the scheduled castes. and the Home Minister stood up again.' continued the questioner.en8848.5.6 'is the Government aware that the Brahmpur Police made a lathi charge on the members of the jatav community last week when they demonstrated in front of the Govind Shoe Mart?' The Minister for Home Affairs. however. dark. 'The police. and when it was apparent that the safety of the Govind Shoe Mart. Is the Government aware of the incident I am referring to?' The Home Minister looked across the well of the great circular chamber. pockmarked man in his forties. Shri L. Ram Dhan. and of the policemen themselves was seriously threatened. The police were forced to use light canes. when the unruly crowd had stoned and manhandled several members of the public and one policeman. 'It is not a fact. 'Mild lathi charge.' he replied.' He stared at his interrogator. 'There was no lathi charge.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . and stated calmly : 335 'There was no lathi charge in the usual sense. Agarwal. keeping his voice level.

and a certain flexibility must be left to the local authorities. starred question. 'The action was not premeditated. since they used stones. it is clear that he knew this before today.' 'Would the honourable Minister kindly answer the question put to him?' said Ram Dhan heatedly. as if reciting: 'The developing situation on the ground is sometimes such that it is often tactically impossible to foresee what will happen.' 第 126 页 共 293 页 http://www.en8848.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . a learned but not normally very assertive man who was dressed in a kurta and dhoti. Nor was the mob unarmed. I am glad that the honourable member admits that it was a mob that the police were facing. and his answers must be taken to be sufficient.com.a great pipal tree . It had to be taken forthwith in order to meet a grave situation which had suddenly developed. why not?' The Home Minister sighed with exasperation rather than weariness as he stood up again : 'May I reiterate that I do not accept the use of the words 搇 athi charge?in this context.' L.' said L. 'I should have thought the answer was obvious. towards the great dome of white frosted glass through which the late morning light poured down on the Legislative Assembly. Indeed. in particular the District Magistrate and the Superintendent of Police?' 'Yes. then continued. from the fact that he uses the word in a printed. as the honourable Minister admits. no such specific sanction was taken. He gJanced at a point in the dead centre of the dark green carpet that covered the well. It did not admit of any previous reference to Government. 'If. having delivered himself of this single syllable and as if seeking patience.Brahmpur. opening his arms and clenching his fists. 'Was the specific sanction of the Home Minister taken 336 by the district authorities before making the lathi charge on the unarmed mob? If so. Agarwal. Ag 鈘 wal looked upwards. when? If not.' A member shouted: 'And what about the Chief Minister?' The Speaker of the House.' But Ram Dhan clung on.N. He paused.and said: 'These short-order starred questions are addressed specifically to the honourable Home Minister. was the honourable Home Minister informed of the proposed action of the police? Did he or the Chief Minister give their tacit approval?' Once again the Home Minister rose. looked down from his high platform below the seal of Purva Pradesh .N. However.

that the Minister subsequently posted troops .was taken under the aegis of the responsible Cabinet Minister. It was accepted by practically all concerned that the authorities faced a serious situation with tact and due restraint. during which it was not clear what the Chief Minister was going to add. 'that it was on the prodding of members of the bania trading community to which he belongs that the 338 '昖. 'Whom I naturally support. Sharma. dominating the others.com. 第 127 页 共 293 页 http://www. but are satisfied that the finding of the District Magistrate is correct. but I have nothing to add.' he asked. the Home Minister quickly rose again to say: 'I hope that we have made ourselves clear on this point.S. He was positioned along the curve of the central well. 'but I would like to seek a clarification.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . stood up without his stick. almost exactly between L. does the Chief Minister mean to imply that he approves of the policy of the district authorities?' Before the Chief Minister could reply. Agarwal and Mahesh Kapoor.' he said.337 Several voices now rose.' A member of the Socialist Party stood up. honourable Home Minister' . voice.' said the Speaker. The District Magistrate went into the matter fully and found that the very minimum force which was absolutely unavoidable was used. He addressed the Speaker in his nasal. nodding his head gently as he did so : 'I have no objection to speaking. Mr Speaker. if anything. leaned with his left hand on his dark wooden desk and looked to his left and right. boomed out: 'Since the honourable Chief Minister is present in the House after his travels in other parts.I mean police throughout the length and breadth of Misri Mandi?' 'I disallow that question.N. 'Is it true. perhaps he would care to oblige us with an answer even though he is not compelled by the Standing Orders to do so? I believe the House would appreciate it. By saying that he supports the Home Minister.angry murmurs rose from the Government benches 'let me finish . The Government regret that such an occasion should have arisen.en8848. One. An inquiry was held immediately after the incident.' There was a pause.' he said. He had not even sat down when the inexorable Ram Dhan came back into the fray. 'I am much obliged to the honourable Chief Minister. Shri S. The action taken call it by what name the honourable members will . rather paternal.' The Chief Minister. It was not a case of prior approval.

'Order! Order!' cried the Speaker.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . Agarwal. There were shouts of 'What peace?' 'Shame!' 'Who is the DM to judge the matter?' 'What about the mosque?' and so on. and her pale and furious face riveted the house even before she began to speak. earnest chatter and ostentatious laughter arose on all sides. and one of the leaders of the Democratic Party. And. she had the reputation of being an aggressive protector of the rights of all Muslims in the new. Was S. truncated Independent India. almost black. looking flustered as another member rose to his feet and said : 'Will the Government consider the advisability of creating machineries other than the interested district authorities for making inquiries in such cases?' 'I do not allow this question. sweating slightly.' A babble of indignant shouts. The intervention of the Chief Minister had been more disturbing than reassuring to L. indirect way.' It was the end of the Home Minister's grilling on the Misri Mandi incident. Sharma. sari.com. though he prided himself on maintaining his calm in difficult circumstances.7 BEGUM ABIDA KHAN slowly stood up.N. trying to palm off full responsibility for the action onto his second-incommand? L. She was the wife of the Nawab of Baitar's younger brother.'Well. like his father.S. shaking his head like a sparrow. the supplementary questions had given the exchange the character almost of a crossexamination. And in the event it has proved to be effective. She was dressed in a dark blue. but he knew that he would have to be on his feet immediately again. the party that sought to protect the interests of the landowners in the face of the impending passage of the Zamindari Abolition Bill. 339 5. 'would the honourable Minister kindly inform us on whose advice he decided on the placing of this threatening body of police?' The Home Minister grasped the curve of hair under his cap and said : 'Government made its own decision. in his wily. Although a Shia.' continued the member. bearing the totality of the situation in mind.' said the Speaker. had been a member of the 第 128 页 共 293 页 http://www. he did not relish what he would now have to face. There is peace at last in Misri Mandi. Agarwal sat down.en8848. Her husband. Though there had been only five questions on the printed sheet.N. 'Under Standing Orders questions making suggestions for action are not permissible and I am not prepared to allow them during Question Time.

replied : 'Indeed. Agarwal. Begum Abida Khan veered from her script. however.en8848. Til be useless there. 'Will the honourable Minister inform us exactly what he is aware of?' she inquired acidly. Looking straight at the man whom she considered to be one of the less savoury manifestations of humankind. who at the best of times could not stand the Begum.' said L.' she had said. And this morning she knew exactly what she wanted to do.' It was somewhat obstructive of him not to elaborate.com. holding up the index finger of his right hand.' replied the Home Minister. she. 'What would the honourable Minister say was the death toll in the firing in Chowk?' demanded Begum Abida Khan. 'One. 'I disallow that question. had chosen not to go.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . as if to an idiot child who had difficulty with numbers or hearing or both.N.' murmured the Speaker. but he did not feel like being forthcoming before this pale harridan. 第 129 页 共 293 页 http://www.Muslim League before Independence and had left for Pakistan shortly afterwards. sitting and gossiping. Despite the powerful persuasion and reproach of many relatives. I was not. she began her questioning from her list of starred questions. Here in Brahmpur at least I know where I am and what I can do. 340 Begum Abida Khan's voice was incredulous : 'One?' she cried. 'Is the honourable Minister for Home Affairs aware that at'least^nve people were'kilieb1 oy the ponce in'tne'rmng near Chowk last Friday?' The Home Minister. 'One?' 'One.

N. As the 341 honourable member is aware.en8848. 'I understand that Question Time is used for getting information from and not for giving information to Ministers. Agarwal paused before answering: 'The District Magistrate is a seasoned officer. it was at least five.these copies of death certificates.' said L.' 'By 損 resent?you mean that he ordered the mowing down of these unfortunate people. I would like to table these death certificates .com. it is likely that two more men will shortly -' 'I rise on a point of order. is being callously shed -' 'The honourable member will not use Question Time to make speeches. Sir.N. as it is in all cases of an order to fire. why is the House not entitled to see them? When the blood of innocent men. an inquiry under a more senior officer will shortly be made. who was present at the time of the event.' 'I am afraid that that is not possible under the Standing Orders?' protested the Speaker. Begum Abida Khan suddenly pulled herself together. Begum Abida Khan waved the documents around.' Begum Abida Khan's voice continued regardless : '. and once again addressed L. and I have good proof of this fact. and raised her voice higher: 'The newspapers have copies of them. of mere boys. 'Will the honourable Minister kindly inform the House on what basis he came to the total figure of one?' 'The report was furnished by the District Magistrate.' said the Speaker. Indeed.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . who took whatever steps he considered the situation required.two more men will shortly be receiving such certificates of honour thanks to the henchmen of the honourable Minister. Agarwal. is that not so?' L.N. and banged his gavel. and I suggest to 第 130 页 共 293 页 http://www.Begum Abida Khan cried out angrily : 'If I may inform the honourable Minister. Agarwal. Here are copies of the death certificates of four of the deceased. ignoring her and addressing the Speaker directly.

It is very germane to the subject.' 'Speculation?' burst out Begum Abida Khan. it was obvious. when? If not. tense as a claw. If it were the blood of his own co-religionists that was flowing in the streets. Or mosques. why not?' Brutally and angrily L. Sir.N. Riot? How does the honourable Minister come to the conclusion that that was the intention of the crowd? It was the time of evening prayer.having cast his calm demeanour to the winds . 'Speculation? Do you call this speculation? You should be . It could not have been. In fact I shall ask the next one immediately. There was uproar.her that we wait until such time as the report is published before we give vent to speculation.' 'I thank you. I am not speculating. the honourable Minister would not 搘 ait until such time? We know of the overt and tacit support he gives that foul organization the Linga Rakshak Samiti.was glaring at her at every scornful 'honourable'.she emphasized the word maananiya or honourable .N. Agarwal replied: 'It was not. and . The frail-looking Speaker made another attempt to stem the flow : 'The honourable member may perhaps need reminding that according to my Question List. They were proceeding to the mosque -' 'From all reports.en8848.' said Begum Abida Khan. shouting with their accustomed zealotry. If people start riots for religious reasons and attempt to destroy temples they must accept the consequences. I have seen the corpses of two men with these very eyes. of course. 'Riot? 342.the honourable Minister' . 第 131 页 共 293 页 http://www. she has three starred questions remaining. Will the honourable Minister of Home Affairs inform us whether prior to the firings in Chowk a warning to disperse was read out under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code? If so. There was no time to do so. 'I shall come to them. for that matter -' But now Begum Abida Khan was almost shouting.' said the Home Minister.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . and brandishing weapons. set up expressly to destroy the sanctity of our mosque -' The House was getting increasingly excited under her oratory. L. Agarwal was grasping his curve of grey hair with his right hand. inappropriate though it may have been.com.'the honourable Minister should be ashamed of himself. They were rushing forward violently.

He seemed. in fact.en8848.have been taken without either giving due warning to disperse or attempting to ascertain the intention of the crowd?' That Abdus Salaam should have risen to his feet shocked the House. to be thinking aloud. rose to ask : 'May I know. whether a Parliamentary Secretary to a Minister is authorized to put questions to Government?' Abdus Salaam.' 'But this was brutal. a semblance of order was restored. horror. He was a scholarly young man. could be clearly heard. When.he was looking at an indeterminate point somewhere to the right of the great seal of Purva Pradesh above the Speaker's chair. 'They fired at point-blank range.the party of the zamindars . now rose to ask: 'How could such a grave step .' shouted someone else.com.an order to fire . But to his utter amazement and. Mahesh Kapoor himself was surprised at this intervention by his Parliamentary Secretary and turned around with a frown. Abdus Salaam.on this issue. It was becoming a free-for-all. In a sense it was not clear where he was addressing the question . stunned members of all parties. not entirely pleased.A member of the Socialist Party cried : 'Was the honourable Minister present?' A member of the Congress Party said: 'He can't be everywhere. no!' 'How can you do that?' and 'If you won't 第 132 页 共 293 页 http://www. indeed. the Home Minister.' 'Honourable members are reminded that the Minister is to answer his own questions. and was one of the chief architects of the Purva Pradesh Zamindari Abolition Bill.' cried the Speaker. looking around in bewilderment. after repeated thumps of the Speaker's gavel. waving their order papers. 'I thank you. Agarwal was gripped with 343 outrage and humiliation. That he should make common cause with a leader of the Democratic Party .cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . Sir. not even the Speaker. and no one.' But now there were cries of: 'No. Several members of the House were on their feet. known particularly for his excellent understanding of land tenure law. said: 'I withdraw. L. who happened also to be Parliamentary Secretary to the Revenue Minister. though still in shock. amazed by the furore he had unwittingly caused. Sir -' began the Home Minister. The Chief Minister scowled.N. a Muslim member of the Congress Party.

he was going to get back at her and her house . these Muslims. I 'D 閙 onstration?' said L. They were all fanatics.the demonstration of gross inhumanity. Would the honourable Minister for Home Affairs! care to explain how this happened?' She sat down anfflj glared.' cried I another.N.en8848.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . She was a thorn in his flesh and had insulted and humiliated him before the House and he now decided that. leaping up | again and slipping out of his coils.I sic triumph. ? Over all this rose the piercing voice of Begum Abida I Khan : 'It was as brutal as the violence of Partition. every member is at liberty to put questions.com.' said a third.N.was on the part of the police. rather -' said the battling Begum. j 'There should be an adjournment motion on this. A calm dose of wellapplied law would do them good.the family of the Nawab Sahib of Baitar. like the other member.' 'I am asking. I will'.ask it.' When he saw the wretched woman get up again. the Home Minister felt a stab of hatred in his heart. \ 'Crowd. why no one found 1 out what the crowd wanted? How did the DM know it 1 was violent?' repeated the member. Now will the honourable Minister not take refuge in semantics and deal with the facts. 'I believe it has been withdrawn. who appeared not to realize they were here in this country on sufferance. A J 晊 outh was k\\\ea -who was not even patt ot tVve demonstra-J tion. that it was the time of prayer? The demonstra344 I tion . The Speaker sighed. 'Why then?' asked a member angrily. for that is what it was . 'Why was it done? Will the honourable Minister answer or not?' 'I did not catch the question.' said L. surely. 第 133 页 共 293 页 http://www. come what may. Agarwal with an air of foren. 'As far as procedure is concerned. 'You are not going to deny.' he ruled. 'The Speaker already has such a notice with him. Agarwal.

From around the House outraged cries rose: 'Sit down. why was a deterrent police force well. Agarwal had been dreading.' said Abdus Salaam.N. suddenly determined.' 'Shame!' 'Why are you attacking your own side?' 'Why should he sit down?' 'What have you got to hide?' 'You are a Congress member .you should know better'. and a Parliamentary Secretary at that. But so unprecedented was the situation that even those who opposed his intervention were curious. he thought.' L.'I can only answer one question at a time. He felt defenceless. Agarwal said in a dangerous growl. who was waiting for 第 134 页 共 293 页 http://www.' Now Abdus Salaam stood up again. Was this a plot by Mahesh Kapoor to undermine him? He looked at the Chief Minister. I must control my expression. especially after the contents of the Friday sermon at the Alamgiri Mosque became known to the authorities?' This was the question that L.' The Home Minister drew in his breath. Government is not aware that an innocent youth was fired upon.com. Abdus Salaam. Sir. let alone injured or killed.en8848. it is. maybe just an adequate police force . and he was appalled and enraged that it had been asked by an MLA from his own party.not maintained at the site of the temple? Then there would have been no need to fire in this panicky manner. 'Yes.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . When the cries had died down to a sort of volatile muttering. 'The supplementary questions of the honourable member who asked the starred questions will take precedence.N. well. Would the honourable Minister inform us why there was not a sufficient and deterrent police force maintained either at the kotwali or at the site of the temple itself? Why were there only a dozen men left to maintain law and order in this grievously disturbed area. The Home Minister said: 'We must wait till the report is published. asked: 'What I have been wondering about during the course of this discussion is. still looking rather puzzled. Everyone is looking at me. 'I will not withdraw this question. 345 'Is this supplementary question addressed to the honourable Minister?' asked the Speaker. Begum Abida Khan smiled grimly.' said the Speaker. sit down.

as if challenging the members to goad him further. does Government plan to take any steps in this regard?' 'That will be seen in due course.wait for the report.com. then at Begum Abida Khan.' 'Has Government taken any such steps in similar situations in the past?' 'It has. 346 'The question does not arise.N. Well. she was not done with him yet. L. he said : 'I can merely reiterate .his response with an unreadable expression.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . but to much shabbier effect than that master of parliamentary evasion.and that his own party had been infected with treason.' A member asked : 'Why were so many police diverted to Misri Mandi for a totally unnecessary show of force when they were really needed in Chowk?' 'Wait for the report.' said the Home Minister. By now.' 'What are those steps that have been taken?' 'Such steps as were considered reasonable and proper.' Begum Abida Khan looked at him as she would at a snake. wounded but still evading the final blow by twisting its head from side to side. Looking with calm hatred first at Abdus Salaam. and wanted very badly to urinate. He was convinced that this was indeed a plot by Muslims and socalled secular Hindus to attack him . he hardly cared. however. glaring around the House. And he wanted to get out of here as quickly as possible. Begum Abida Khan stood up. He began to take refuge in the kind of stonewalling that the Chief Minister himself often used. 第 135 页 共 293 页 http://www.' 'What steps does Government intend to take?' 'Proper and adequate steps.en8848. Agarwal suddenly realized that he had been on his feet for a long time. 'Has the Government taken any action against the District Magistrate responsible for this unprovoked firing?' she demanded. I should think it might.' 'If the much-anticipated report shows that the firing was uncalled for and irregular.

'Well.'Will the honourable Minister name the wards or neighbourhoods in which restrictions have now been placed with regard to the possession of cold steel? Have these restrictions been placed as the result of the recent firing? If so.' 'Household knives have also been wrested by the police from housewives. realizing too late how he had exposed himself by what he had started to say.' said the Home Minister. 347 He stopped abruptly. She let her questions taper away. axes. anti-Muslim bully had just condemned himself out of his own mouth sufficiently for much further skewering to be productive. why were they not placed earlier?' The Home Minister looked at the pipal tree in the great seal. trigger-happy. 'Why were these restrictions on cold steel imposed?' 'In order to prevent crimes and incidents of violence. 'So the honourable Minister admits -' began Begum Abida Khan. 'Police had to be shifted in large numbers to the real trouble spots-' began L. 'Not Misri Mandi?' 'No. Agarwal.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 .' 第 136 页 共 293 页 http://www. Begum Abida Khan smiled contemptuously. Hazrat Mahal.N. and said : 'Government presumes that the honourable member means by the phrase 揷 old steel?objects such as swords.en8848. her eyes gleaming triumphantly. Agarwal. 'The Government admits nothing.com. appalled by the confession she had elicited from him. what are the neighbourhoods ?' 'Chowk. and decided that the reactionary. The report will detail everything.' 'Although that was the site of the heaviest police presence?' persisted Begum Abida Khan.N. daggers.' said Begum Abida Khan in more of a jeer than a statement. and Captainganj. and similar weapons.' said L.

which.com. it was not . to grant them or not was in the Speaker's absolute discretion. Several members tried to talk to him. As soon as the notice for an adjournment motion had been rejected by the Speaker. The subject of the police firing.' 'And when does the Government propose to withdraw these restrictions?' 'As soon as the situation permits.'Incidents?' 'Such as riots by inflamed mobs. Adjournment motions were only granted in the most exceptional cases of crisis or emergency. He brushed them off. but the Speaker disposed of this quickly enough. the announcement of bills passed by the state legislature that had received the assent of the Governor of the state or the President of India. and then along the dark. He walked unseeingly to the exit. His tension and animus were palpable in the way he walked.en8848.not directly across the well to the exit but along an aisle to the perimeter gallery. AGARWAL undid the draw-string of his pyjamas and stood at the urinal. The Speaker went on to the next items on the day's business : first.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 .N. he fled .N. 'Till they are withdrawn. 'How long will these restrictions continue?' asked Begum Abida Khan. the most 348 important matter on the agenda for the entire session : the continuing debate on the Zamindari Abolition Bill. He was unconsciously crushing his order papers in his hand.' he cried out in weary rage. to sympathize with him. and made straight for the bathroom.had been sufficiently aired already. Agarwal did not stay to listen to discussions on the bill. 第 137 页 共 293 页 http://www. 5. But L.' Begum Abida Khan gently sat down. to his mind. almost unreinable woman had virtually become a debate. But he was so angry that he was unable to urinate for a while. even had it been such a subject . next. There followed a notice for adjournment of the House in order to discuss the issue of the firing. almost laughing.8 L. wood-panelled wall. where discussion could brook no delay. The questions of that remarkable.

that cheap dancing girl Nimmi or Pimmi or whatever her name is and Nargis so high-class. 'So.which. Mahesh Kapoor's uninterpretable frown. and they were talking to each other. hatreds and ideals into a realization of the continuing and urgent lives of people other than himself. the taunting face of Begum Abida Khan. ambitions. There was no one in the lavatory except a couple of sweepers.N.' The first man laughed. A few words of their conversation broke in upon L. and yet giving pleasure to the whole world ' He began humming one of the hit songs from the movie .blind himself. who had not seen the movie yet. trying to conjure up the divine images of his heroine. white-tiled wall and saw in it an image of the packed chamber. As they continued to talk. joined in the song . the furrowed academic expression of Abdus Salaam. 349 The sweepers were now discussing a movie that one of them had seen.he always has that quiet smile on his lips even when singing the saddest songs .oh .N.' The first man grunted. He even felt a little ashamed of himself. 'If she let you keep the money. They talked casually. It happened to be Deedar. He now said : 'Nargis looked so beautiful on the poster I thought I would see the movie last night.such a good-natured man . was on almost everyone's lips. They were complaining about the difficulties of obtaining grain even at the government ration shops. He was taken out of his own world. 'Give me Nimmi any day. the patient but condescending look on the face of the Chief Minister as he had fumbled pathetically through the poisonous swamp of Question Time.He stared at the long.en8848. Agarwal's fury.'Do not forget the days of childhood ' The second man. ever since the film had been released.com. his own passions. all she would see of it would be empty envelopes and empty bottles. what was she like? How did she act? What a contrast . not paying any attention to the powerful Home Minister and very little attention to their own work. I'd rather live with her than 第 138 页 共 293 页 http://www. tell me. so delicate. 'But it was Daleep Kumar's role . but my wife takes my money from me as soon as I get my pay. a feeling of unreality descended upon L.it brought tears to my eyes .cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . Agarwal.' The second man continued wistfully.

and his own late wife. 'Nargis?' 'Yes. 350 Though less possessed by rage. greeted him. he had once again entered his own familiar world of politics and rivalry. How do you think she got her first chance in the movies?' And he laughed and began to hum to himself again.en8848. who had sweetened his life through her years of selfless care and love. The other man was silent and began to scrub the floor once more.I'll go to the library instead. L. he would be set upon by his anxious supporters. as he listened to the sweepers talking. but his son lies at the feet of prostitutes. He needed to establish his equanimity again before he faced the legislators below. His thoughts turned to the virulent Begum Abida Khan once more. quiet precincts of the library of the Legislative Assembly. and continued with their work. nodded at the two MLAs. But the image that came before him was not the blank nothingness he sought. I wonder if some part of Baitar House could be construed as evacuee property now that that woman's husband is living in Pakistan.N.and to the now commonplace gossip about her relationship with Mahesh Kapoor's son. thought L. what's the difference in class between them? She was also one of those. that as soon as he entered his office.N.' he muttered to himself. turned from Nargis to another 'one of those' Saeeda Bai . L. took off his cap. too full of herself. 'No . A word to the Custodian. After ten minutes of thought. who had not even followed her husband when he had left for Pakistan but had immodestly and spouselessly remained in Purva Pradesh to make trouble . Agarwal closed his eyes and tried to make his mind blank. Anyway. however.' The second man looked shocked. your Nargis. How little there was in common between this shameless. He walked along the curved corridor that led to his room. he got up. exhibitionistic woman who smoked in private and screeched in public. He knew.com.Nargis is too thin. What little calm he had achieved in the last few minutes would be destroyed. an order to the police. Priya's mother. and rested his chin on his hands. yes. in the cool.with Nargis . but the spurious blankness of the urinal wall. and once more he had to fight down his rage and humiliation. They looked up.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . and went 第 139 页 共 293 页 http://www. and let's see what I am able to do. Good! he thought.N. Agarwal's thoughts. he sat down. Agarwal. Upstairs. A couple of other MLAs were sitting and reading at the long wooden tables. Mahesh Kapoor may starch his delicately embroidered kurtas into rigidity.

Anyway. A few MLAs were already sitting in his room when he arrived.N.' and this was the MLA's response. and several more gathered in the next few minutes as they came to know that he was holding court.and I would prefer death by a bullet to death by starvation. who had commiserated with his leader because the twin misfortunes of Misri Mandi and Chowk had fallen simultaneously upon him.' Needless to say. Agarwal. Agarwal now held forth as he was accustomed to doing.N. at least two or three out of five battles will be yours.N. 'never did anyone any harm. 'Our problems are very simple. this was not a choice that faced him. 'if you have a number of outrageous things to do is to do them simultaneously.' The MLA looked doubtful.N. Agarwal. even smiling slightly to himself. When the dust settles. people are always dying . Agarwal replied: 'You are a case in point that a good man will not make a good politician. And the public has a short memory. Agarwal. Just think . they all boil down to two things : lack of food and lack of morality.what shall I say? . or you don't. but nodded in agreement. Either you rule. And the policies of our rulers in Delhi . He calmed 35i down his agitated followers.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 .downstairs to his room.en8848. 'As quickly as possible.' said L. he mapped out strategy.that's why they blew the mutineers from cannons in 1857.' 'Then the answer. he placed matters in perspective.' 第 140 页 共 293 页 http://www. not concentrate them. L.' went on L.don't help either much.com. In fact. To one of the MLAs. L.N. would you want the public to forget them or remember them?' Clearly the answer was intended to be 'Forget them. The British knew that they had to make an example sometimes . People will scatter their complaints. Imperturbable. and those dead rioters. it will all be stale news in a week.if you had to do a number of outrageous things. As for the firing in Chowk. But he was in a philosophical mood. 'A lesson here and there. 'As quickly as possible?' asked L. Minister Sahib. you know.

Agarwal dismissively. Jawaharlal Nehru has built up his entire career by meaning well.com. we have to buy whatever we can get from China and Russia. 'He meant well when he gave away Pakistan. I will talk to him in fifteen minutes.'Now that Sardar Patel is dead. It isn't just their hearts that are soft. 'Means well .' He shook his head. Sir?' asked the PA.' After a while he continued: 'Look at our situation today.' 'Panditji means well. the Home Minister said to his rather scatterbrained PA: 'There is no war on. Last year landless labourers were selling themselves for five rupees each. it is their brains as well. 'Except. then turned to his personal assistant.Yet so noble and sensitive is our Prime Minister that he considers all the ills of the world to be his own. God save us from people who mean well. 'Get me the Custodian on the phone.Maulana Azad. Why does he bother to write them? The Chief Ministers are not delighted to read them.' said someone. 'Even before Patel died who would Nehru listen to?' said L. He means well about Nepal and Egypt and God knows what else. And the poor. Gandhiji loved him because he meant well.' remarked one young but very conservative MLA. He doesn't have the least idea of administration but he talks about the kind of food committees we 第 141 页 共 293 页 http://www.' 'Custodian .cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . Use what intelligence God has given you. there's virtual famine in our neighbouring state. of course. his great Muslim friend . and expects us to mean well too. stupid people love him because he means well. If it hadn't been for Patel.of Enemy Property. no one can control Panditji. He meant well when he gave away half of Kashmir.en8848.He clutched his arc of grey hair. And these well-meaning letters he writes every month to the Chief Ministers. we wouldn't even have the country that we do. Delhi forces us to impose price controls and government godowns and rationing and every populist and unthought-out measure possible.N. What is General MacArthur to us? . Agarwal. We beg America for food.' 352. Very calmly and slowly and looking him full in the face. I would like to talk to the Custodian of Evacuee Property.N. and continued: 'Do you know what they contain? Long homilies about Korea and the dismissal of General Mac Arthur. And instead of giving the farmers and the traders a free hand so that they can produce more and store things better and distribute them efficiently.means well -' sighed L.

He was alone. Agarwal. Nor does he understand our society and our scriptures. in detaching his mind from this morning's events and the bitterness that they had aroused in him.en8848. Now he was at the mercy of indifferent cooks and their institutional cooking. and walked rather wearily to the Assembly canteen. which the others knew was a signal to withdraw. The discussion was precise and cold. As he walked along the curved corridor he was reminded of the presence of the central chamber that the corridors circumscribed . He then got up. wondering if he had left any aspect of the matter ambiguous or vulnerable. There was a limit even to asceticism. as he had sent 354 the regular occupants of the office scurrying about to get various papers and law-books. Til come to that in a moment.the huge.N. The question is what you've done already.' Left alone.353 should set up. Abdus Salaam did a respectful .9 THOUGH it had been less than five minutes since he had] sent off the peon to fetch his Parliamentary Secretary. and asked what he could do.' 第 142 页 共 293 页 http://www. yet he wants to overturn our family life and our family morals through his wonderful Hindu Code Bill ' L. In the old days his wife used to send him a tiffin-carrier containing his simple food prepared exactly the way he liked it. Agarwal would have gone on with his own homily for quite a while if his PA had not said.! Mahesh Kapoor was waiting in the Legal Remembrancer's Office with great impatience. Huzoor has brought his presence to the Secretariat at last!' he said when he saw Abdus Salaam. 5. But his insight did not succeed. 'Ah. the Home Minister talked for ten minutes to the Custodian of Evacuee Property.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . Til see you all in the canteen. domed chamber whose height and majestic elegance made almost trivial the frenetic and partisan proceedings below.' said L. 'Sir. He came to the conclusion that he had not.com.' 'All right then. nor did it make him regret in the least what he had been planning and preparing a few minutes ago.N.or was it ironical? adaab. For another few minutes the Home Minister sat at his desk. with a slight wave of his hand. the Custodian is on the line. except momentarily.

' said Mahesh Kapoor impatiently.he went on 'did he go to the canteen for lunch?' 'Oh. yes. Sharma eating lunch seated traditionally on the floor at home.S. me!' Mahesh Kapoor was in good humour. Making a kabab out of our honourable Home Minister.' 'I only asked -' 'I know what you only asked.' said Mahesh Kapoor fondly. On the floor of the House. Quite composed. thinking of this morning's proceedings and his rival's extreme discomfiture.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 .' he said with some regret. his upper body bare except for his sacred thread.' 'And was the Chief Minister there? What did he have to say?' 'No. passed before Mahesh Kapoor's eyes. 'It's exactly the kind of thing he would do so he imagines the same of me. Sharma Sahib was not there.com.en8848.' said his Minister with a smile. At least restrain 355 yourself until the Zamindari Bill has passed.' 'Uff! You are a useless informant. You had better mind what you say or you'll make things difficult for both Agarwal and myself. how did he appear?' 'You mean Agarwal Sahib? Quite well. 'No.' The image of S. I suppose not. 'So.'Already?' Abdus Salaam was nonplussed. Tm asking you why you asked it. Everyone needs everyone's cooperation on that. Salaam.' 'I was wondering why the police -' 'My good fool. Tell me' . 'Anyway.' 第 143 页 共 293 页 http://www. I've been thinking a little about this. 'don't you realize that Lakshmi Narayan Agarwal thinks I put you up to it?' 'You?' 'Yes. 'This morning. I think.

After the usual salutations. That's our main problem Yes. who. when the neem trees were j in flower. took such pains on his behalf. Then in an angry and determined voice. considering the safety of his cargo.com. what is it? Come in. acute over the years. Since he had no idea how best to approach the matter. despite her own ailments. he said: 'Get me Agarwal on the phone!' 第 144 页 共 293 页 http://www. Murtaza Ali had never met the Chief Minister in person. 'I sent them out an hour ago. Minister Sahib. why have these people not returned yet?' asked Mahesh Kapoor.14 WHEN they got to the Chief Minister's house fifteen minutes later. Mahesh Kapoor spared half a moment's thought for his wife. 'Now to what do I owe this pleasure?' The Chief Minister looked from the six-year-old boy to the Nawab Sahib's thirty-year-old secretary while nodding his head slightly from side to side as he sometimes did when tired. she was reduced to a breathlessness that superfi-1 cially resembled Fran's asthma. they were asked to sit down.' This was not quite true. which he usually ate quite late. where he was working late.' 'Speaking of which. looking around the Legal Remembrancer's Office. but slowly.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . and the problem had become increasingly .' he continued. But Hassan looked cool and crisp in his fine white angarkha. It was a peon with his lunch. hearing a light knock at the door. 5.en8848.'All right. this letter will tell you everything. Opening his tiffin-carrier. if a little sleepy. April in Brahmpur was almost unbearable for her because of her allergy to neem blossoms. 'Everyone is always late and no one values time in this country. Murtaza Ali was sweating . come in. he simply said: 'Chief Minister Sahib.he had been bicycling as fast as he could.' The Chief Minister looked over the letter only once. Sometimes. they were immediately admitted to his office. nasal but with the unmistakable ring of authority.

After a minute he said : 'No. what does this Baitar House business mean?' asked the Chief Minister. There was no mistaking the annoyance in his voice. I cannot have this sort of thing going on under my nose. Call it off at once. the Chief Minister ticked off Murtaza Ali for having brought the 'poor boy' with him so long past his bedtime. Is he claiming that we should take the government's word on this as on other matters? Does the honourable member not know what happened just the other day in this city .' A few seconds later he said. would have set upon the helpless members of an unprotected zenana and.' He was about to put down the receiver when he added : 'And call me in half an hour. 'Agarwal. When the call came through. a gang of policemen.com. I am not interested in all that. I must remind her of the rules of debate and ask her to refrain from introducing extraneous matter into 第 145 页 共 293 页 http://www. reflected Murtaza Ali.15 BEGUM ABIDA KHAN (Democratic Party) : I do not understand what the honourable member is saying. If you have to. Then he turned to Hassan and said.' After the Chief Minister had put the phone down. even more exasperatedly : 'No. put my signature on it. I have a good understanding of what the Custodian's job is. if it had not been for the grace of God The Hon'ble the Speaker: The honourable member is reminded that this is not germane to the Zamindari Bill that is being discussed.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . shaking his head a little: 'Go home now. if I had brought Abbas along as well. he glanced at Zainab's letter again. things will be all right.' 5. But it had clearly had an effect on his feelings. armed to the teeth.where on the orders of this government.en8848. He would probably have had harsher things to say. the Chief Minister had a 378 few words with the Home Minister.in Baitar House to be precise . Tell the police to leave immediately. It will not be sorted out in the morning.While the call was being connected.

brought down to this Lower House and amended drastically yet again by the government itself shows a lack of faith and a lack of responsibility.will not be paid in proportion to 380 .half of which we are expected. with respect to its proclaimed original intent. wastrels Begum Abida Khan : .was appalled. relatives. retainers. 第 146 页 共 293 页 http://www. and the people of this state will not forgive the government for this. amended. musicians A member: Wrestlers.who have lived through many shocking events in my life . but God too judges us from above and if I may say so without disrespect 379 to this House. Begum Abida Khan: The honourable Speaker has been very indulgent with me. If there are further digressions in this vein I will ask her to resume her seat. What we saw when the bill . to accept in government bonds of uncertain date! A member: You need not accept it. Since they are going to be deprived of their ancestral means of livelihood.her speeches.managers. the entire manner in which this bill has been created. that is the least that we can expect in justice. The treasury will be happy to keep it warm for you. the honour of other honourable houses is being ravished? The Hon'ble the Speaker: I will not remind the honourable member again. and I have no intention of troubling this House further with my feeble voice. But the amount that is being paid is a pittance .com. even integrity. bullies.was undergoing its second reading in this Legislative Assembly was something so shocking that even I . It had been agreed that compensation was to be paid to landlords.as amended by the Legislative Council . in the sight of this honourable House. passed by the Upper House. indeed enjoined.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . How can zamindars expect justice from this government in the countryside where redress is so distant when even in this city. God too has his own rules and we will see which prevails.en8848. Begum Abida Khan : And even that bond-weakened pittance is on a graduated scale so that the larger landlords many of whom have establishments on which hundreds of people depend . courtesans. Begum Abida Khan : I am deeply grateful to the honourable Speaker. They have used their brute majority to force through amendments which are patently mala fide. But I will say that the entire conduct. This House has its own rules.

a non-graduated so-called compensation and a graduated so-called Rehabilitation Grant for zamindars and passed an amendment late in the day to validate this new scheme of payment. the music.when by mere jugglery the Revenue Minister and his Parliamentary Secretary have transferred three-quarters of the compensation money into another category with a long and pious name . It thinks that this bill will be popular with the people and it has an eye on the General Elections that will be taking place in just a few months. who are the true proficients of dissipation. this pernicious legislation will be struck down. The Hon'ble the Speaker : I would request members not to interrupt needlessly the speeches of other members.com. that even a child would be able to see through it. This chamber may rubber-stamp this bill. That is the truth of the matter. As in our fellow-state of Bihar. The Upper Chamber 381 may give it another cursory reading and rubber-stamp it. They split up the compensation into two parts . Perhaps for cake.en8848. yet so transparent.at the very end of the second reading ? Something that was so deceitful. believe me. yes.as long as there is breath in our bodies . The class of people who preserved the culture. I must confess that I see no likelihood of her begging for her bread through the lanes of Brahmpur. the etiquette of this province is to be dispossessed. Begum Abida Khan : But what is the use of my raising my voice for justice in a House where all we meet with is mockery and boorishness ? We are called degenerates and wastrels but it is the sons of Ministers. Do they really think the court will accept that the compensation is 'equal treatment' for all . What will these poor people do? Where will they go? The Government does not care. They were afraid that the High Court of Brahmpur would strike down their graduated scale of payment.a category where there is blatantly unequal treatment of the larger landlords ? You may be assured that we will fight this injustice while there is breath in our bodies A member : Or voice in our lungs. yes. But the courts will vindicate us.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . before the bench and in the press and at the hustings . That is the real truth and I do not accept any denials from the Minister of Revenue or his Parliamentary Secretary or the Chief Minister or anyone. But we will bear our vicissitudes with the dignity that is the inheritance of the aristocracy. 第 147 页 共 293 页 http://www. So what did they do at a late stage of the proceedings yesterday . so shameful. The President may sign it blindly. Shri Devakinandan Rat (Socialist Party) : It has been very enlightening to be lectured to by the honourable member. And we will fight for justice.and. as long as there is voice in our lungs. is to be driven through the lanes to beg its bread.the land that is rightfully theirs.

the poor landless labourer. You may like it or not.but I doubt that too. Shri Devakinandan Rai : I thank you. into housing for the landless and land reclamation.en8848. Is the honourable member to be permitted to wander off the subject and take up the time of the House with irrelevancies ? The Hon'ble the Speaker : I think he is not irrelevant. Compensation for the landlords! What? Compensation for the blood that they have already sucked from the limbs of a helpless and oppressed peasantry ? Or compensation for their God-given right . the zamindars. the poor tenant. Sir. and this is what is required also by the economic health of this province.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 .com. but it is not out of order. He is speaking on the general question of the relations between the tenants. ineffectual and compromised. This is what simple justice requires. Mirza Amanat Hussain Khan (Democratic Party) : I rise to a point of order. If I had my way she would not beg for her bread. I. But our belief is based on the grounds that this is a toothless bill. I may like it or not. It does not go anywhere near what is needed for a thorough overhaul of agricultural relations in this province. agree with the honourable member who has just spoken that this bill is an election gimmick by the Congress Party and the government. That question is more or less before us and any remark which the honourable member now offers on that point is not irrelevant. and the members of the Socialist Party. but she and those of her class would certainly have to work for it. the poor worker can hardly afford half a sip of milk for his hungry children ? Why is the treasury being depleted? Why are we writing ourselves and our children into debt with these promised bonds when this idle and vicious class of zamindars and taluqdars and landlords of all kinds should be summarily dispossessed without any thought of compensation . into clinics and agricultural research centres. Sir . not into the luxurious expenditure which is all that the aristocracy is accustomed to or capable of. Sir.is it reasonable that they should be awarded this compensation ? The money that this government in its culpable so-called generosity is pouring into the laps of these hereditary oppressors should go into roads and schools.I notice that the honourable member is in the habit of invoking God whenever His assistance is required to strengthen her weak arguments their God-given right to continue to gorge themselves and their useless train of unemployed relations on the ghee of this state when the poor farmer. and the government. There stands the naked peasant in the 第 148 页 共 293 页 http://www.of the lands that 38z they are sitting on and have been sitting on for generations for the sole reason that they betrayed their country at the time of the Mutiny and were richly rewarded for their treason by the British ? Is it just.

com. He was shocked and embittered by what had happened and horrified that his daughter had had to face such a situation virtually on her own. by right of effort. exploiting class. I have been arguing this point since the inception of the bill two years ago.hot sun.N. Hassan had been puzzled. The Nawab Sahib was almost as angry with his hornet of a sister-in-law as with L. of God ? The only reason why we expect the peasant to pay this huge and unseemly purchase price to the treasury is in order to finance the landlord's exorbitant compensation. But we will see what happens when the people realize how they have been cheated. by right of pain. Then.he could tell that his grandfather was not at all unhappy to see them. and there will be no need for a purchase price. But at this stage of the proceedings 383 what can I do ? It is too late. Agarwal. The General Elections will throw out this cowardly and compromised government and replace it with a government worthy of the name : one that springs from the people. and it had taken all of Imtiaz's good humour when he arrived late that afternoon.16 THE NAWAB SAHIB had entered the House during the earlier part of this last speech. He knew that it was she who had brought this visitation upon their heads. that deprive him of hope. As for L. End the compensation. He was sitting in the Visitor's Gallery. the Nawab Sahib looked down onto the floor of the House. that works for the people and gives no support to its class enemies. and any compensation becomes financially impossible. by right of nature.N. to calm the family down. had he wished to. if you will.en8848. but little Abbas had accepted this as a natural state of affairs and had enjoyed it all . he would have been welcome in the Governor's Gallery. What can I do but say to the treasury benches : you have set up an unholy alliance with the landlords and you are attempting to break the spirit of our people. For a long time he had hugged her and his two grandchildren with tears running down his cheeks. when the worst was over. by right.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . oppressing. Firoz had been white with anger. His concern for her had been so much more patent than his pride in what she had done that Zainab had not been able to help smiling. and here we sit in our cool debating rooms and discuss points of order and definitions of relevancy and make laws that leave him no better than before. He had returned from Baitar the previous day in response to an urgent message from Brahmpur. although. 5. and saw him talking 第 149 页 共 293 页 http://www. Refuse to accept the notion of a purchase price. that take the part of the capitalist. and throughout the second reading last week. Agarwal. Why must the peasant pay for the land that is his by right. she had made light of the police action and was almost cavalier in her assumption that Zainab would have handled things with such tactical courage.

unless halted by the courts . Those who constituted it included not only a small number of decent men but also a large number of brutes and an even larger number of idiots. probably floor management with respect to the impending and critical vote later this afternoon.could hardly administer even their own estates and were 第 150 页 共 293 页 http://www. it has to happen sooner or later. Since the annexation of Brahmpur by the British in the early 18505 the Nawabs of Baitar and other courtiers of the erstwhile royal house of Brahmpur had not even had the psychological satisfaction of serving the state. the impending vote was one that would .that it was a historic occasion. and for those like him. the Nawab Sahib was compelled to admit. For him.spell a swift and precipitous decline. The British had been happy to let the zamindars collect the revenue from land-rent (and were content in 385 practice to allow them whatever they obtained in excess of the agreed British share) but for the administration of the state they had trusted no one but civil servants of their own race. could have wielded their weight.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 .384 very civilly with the Revenue Minister. The princely states. for the press and public galleries were all crowded . apart from racial mistrust. The Nawab Sahib had not had the opportunity to talk to his friend Mahesh Kapoor since his return.or. too. form an insubstantial if intoxicating diet. He was under no illusions that his class was a particularly meritorious one. brown equivalents so close in education and ethos as made no appreciable difference. alas. the question of competence. And indeed. But another reason why he was present in the House today was that he realized . He thought that he would do so after today's session in the Assembly was over.com. who had wandered over to his desk and was conferring with him on some point. partially trained in. and men such as the Raja of Marh might well have remained Rajas in fact as well as in name. nor to convey his heart-felt thanks to the Chief Minister. thought the Nawab Sahib. Perhaps if Pakistan had not come into existence. Most zamindars . The ifs and buts of history. he thought fatalistically.as did many others. later. He remembered a petition that the Zamindars' Association had submitted to the Governor twelve years ago : a good third of the signatories had used their thumbprints. Well.en8848. the landowners would have been able to parlay their way into self-preservation : in a united but unstable India each power-bloc might have been able to use its critical strength to maintain the status quo. a satisfaction claimed by many aristocracies widely separated in space and time. there was. and imported from England . perhaps included .himself. selected in.

I would have thought that it would be more appropriate to let those people speak whose death and burial you wish to preside over . and there was less than half an hour before the division of votes. woke. For most of the landlords the primary question of management was not indeed how to increase their income but how to spend it. imagined. At one point there was a brief intervention by L. One ruler had such a passion for dogs that his entire life revolved around them : he dreamed.N. Others. 第 151 页 共 293 页 http://www. slept. who had been a good friend of the Nawab Sahib's father. like the present Prime Minister of Pakistan.if it is not the Minister of Revenue it is some pawn of his who has been trained to sing the same song: His Master's Voice. But for the most part the princes and landlords had squandered their money on high living of one kind or another : on hunting or wine or women or opium. A couple of images flashed irresistibly and unwelcomely across his mind. I may tell you that the music is not very pleasant: it is monotonous without being soothing. Another was an opium addict who was only content when a few women were thrown into his lap . It is not the voice of reason or reasonableness but the voice of majority power and selfrighteousness. The Nawab of Baitar's thoughts continued to oscillate between the debate on the floor of the Assembly and his own meditations. cause so much misery to him and to those he held so dear? What satisfac. The final speeches were continuing and the Nawab Sahib listened with a somewhat wry expression as his sister-in-law circumscribed the institution of zamindari with a luminous purple halo. But it is pointless to speak further on this. Liaquat Ali Khan. had spent it to build up influence in politics. Begum Abida Khan : For more than an hour we have been listening to speech after speech from the government benches. fantasized about dogs . I did not think that I would wish to speak again.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . even then. The Nawab Sahib stared at the bald head ringed with a horseshoe of grey hair and wondered at the thoughts that must be seething under that layer of flesh and bone. Some. everything he could do was done to their greater glory. How could a man like this deliberately. who made a few amusing comments . indeed happily. filled with the most odious selfcongratulation.en8848. Very few invested it in industry or urban property. sometimes he just snored on.tion could it have given him that the relatives of someone who had worsted him in a debate would be dispossessed of the home in which they had spent the greater part of their lives? It was now about half-past four. Agarwal. but I must do so now.com. whom you wish to deprive of justice and redress and the means of livelihood. The same record has been going on and on for an hour .fleeced by their munshis and money-lenders. he was not always roused to action . certainly.at which even Mahesh Kapoor laughed. had spent it on music and books and the fine arts.I mean the zamindars.

and we were happy with whatever they gave us. we knew their temperament and they knew ours. is this a just provision . And the crimes and oppressions you blame on us. you take it anyway? And then when he pleads with you at least to give him what you promised him. We were never like that. and they will be sucked dry.com. The universities. what proof do these poor people have that you will be any better than you claim we are? They will have to go to the venal clerk and the gluttonous Sub-Divisional Officer. and gulled the people into believing that the cause of their pitiable condition was zamindari. You have come between us and destroyed what was hallowed by the bonds of ancient emotion. You promised Paradise and green gardens under which rivers flow. the traditions of classical music.what do 388 f 第 152 页 共 293 页 http://www.I pity this government that has lost its way and is trying to find a path out of the swamp of its own policies. What are you doing that we did not do? You are not giving them the land.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . When foreigners and those from other states in our country come to this province what do they see . you are renting it out just as we did. a contribution that will long outlive us.who made it strong. to turn around and you then say. and the rest you will get in instalments over twenty-five years'? You may call us all kinds of names and invent all manner of miseries for us but the fact is that it is we zamindars who made this province what it is . You are dispossessing eight lakh people. The people will soon find out who you are. and openly inviting communism. the colleges. But is this decency. It is said that we should 'Beware of the day that is to come'.en8848. You have separated the nail from the flesh. But what do you care about them? We lived for generations together. and you are happy with the result As for compensation. they loved us and we loved them. they dare not keep their eyes on the future. and that you cannot wipe away. 'Here is one rupee now. we were like their fathers and grandfathers. I have said enough already. the very culture of this place were established by us. zamindari will go. and they cannot. In every field of life we have made our contribution. the schools. They were happy with whatever we gave them. who gave it its special flavour. Well. but when your promises of these green gardens prove to be false.' It is three years since we obtained Independence but look at the poor of the land: they have neither food to eat nor clothes to wear nor shelter to protect themselves from the sky.that you should go to someone's shop and tell him: 'Give me this and this at such and such a price' and if he doesn't agree to sell it. and in the same way I say to this Congress government: 'Beware of the time that you are about to bring upon yourself and upon this country. let us see then what the people say about you and do to you. They have no foresight.

It is the end of the last day. They should live together like brothers. These things that are fragrant to the world you say are filled with the scent of exploitation. Begum Abida Khan : You understand very well what I am saying. the Shahi Darvaza.N. thanking various people for their role in shaping this legislation -^ particularly Mahesh Kapoor. Sharma talked for about five minutes. his Parliamentary Secretary. of rotting corpses. If he had taken a little less time for his speech I would have had a little more.en8848. I had hoped that my friend from the socialist benches who talked so movingly of equality and a classless society and took the Government to task for producing an impotent and unjust bill. There followed an extremely long-winded speech by a socialist member. he stated mildly and nasally. the bania who smiles and smiles and grasps without any mercy The Hon'ble the Minister for Home Affairs (Shri L. and Abdus Salaam. It was an opportunity for the landlords to show their goodness of heart. This is getting to be common sport in this House. Finally Mahesh Kapoor. this is the grasping attitude of the village shopkeeper. Agarwal) : I hope that the honourable member is not casting imputations upon my community. As it is I now have barely 第 153 页 共 293 页 http://www. would be a just man himself and would confer some equality on me.S. But time was too short for him to say more than a few words : The Hon'ble the Minister of Revenue (Shri Mahesh Kapoor) : Mr Speaker. But I will not waste my time arguing with you. He advised the landowners to live in amity with their erstwhile tenants when the divestiture of their property took place. the chief architect of the bill. the Minister of Revenue.com. and you and your government will come to wish that you had behaved with greater justice and humanity.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . got the chance to round off the debate in the House. Then you will remember this day and what I have said. you who are a master at twisting words and manipulating the law. the Imambaras. 389 They should think of the teachings of Gandhiji and devote their lives to the service of their fellow-men.they admire? The Barsaat Mahal. Today you have made common cause with the Minister of Revenue in the shameful exploitation of a scapegoat class.and when you look around for friends everyone will have turned their face away from you. and then the Chief Minister S. Are you not ashamed when you speak in this vein? When you curse and rob those who created this splendour and this beauty? When you do not give them enough compensation even to whitewash the buildings that are the heritage of this city and this state? This is the worst form of meanness. the gardens and the mansions that have come down to you from us. but tomorrow will show you what such friendships of convenience are worth .

who have made the passage of this bill possible. The Socialist Party had to vote. however reluctantly. also as expected. and I thank him for it. which will utterly destroy the economy and culture of this province. be passed. and I hope that I speak for the people of Purva Pradesh when I say that my thanks are not merely personal.en8848. and which will at the same time grant not the least benefit to those who 第 154 页 共 293 页 http://www. I thank them all for their months and years of assistance and advice. The Hon'ble the Speaker: I will give you a minute's time.com. The motion was put and the House passed the bill by a large majority. amended by the Legislative Council and further amended by the Legislative Assembly.two minutes to speak. Had they voted against it they would never have lived it down. 390 whose numbers dominated the House.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . If that is so. After the honourable Chief Minister's words of thanks and advice advice which I sincerely hope will be taken by the landlords . I would be interested to see which way he and his party vote in a couple of minutes. in particular the drafting cell and the Office of the Legal Remembrancer. yes.a revolution that he believes to be desirable. The Democratic Party voted against it unanimously. in favour of the bill on the grounds that half a loaf was better than none. The Hon'ble the Speaker : The question before the House is that the Purva Pradesh Zamindari Abolition Bill of original date 1948 as passed by the Legislative Assembly. The smaller parties and Independents voted predominantly for the bill. Begum Abida Khan : With the permission of the Speaker I would like a minute's time to say something.that they should maintain good relations with their tenants .this bill which will force so many people into poverty and unemployment.is very valuable advice. He claimed that my bill was a measure created with the intention merely of preventing revolution . and regardless of the passage of this bill . in that section too.I have nothing to add except a few further words of thanks . But we would have maintained such excellent relations anyway regardless of his excellent advice. and to the officers of the Revenue Department and the Printing Department and the Law Department.to my colleagues in this section of the House and. and despite the fact that it somewhat assuaged the hunger that would have allowed them to flourish. consisting mainly of the Congress Party. Begum Abida Khan: I would like to say on behalf of myself and the Democratic Party that the advice given by the pious and honourable Chief Minister to the zamindars .

sighed. and each of them understood this. what sort of occasion is this for speech-making? The Hon'ble the Speaker: I gave her permission merely to make a short statement. On the wall to the left as he entered was a long cupboard with a rack where a number of tanpuras were resting.com.Part Six 6. this had been quite difficult to obtain. walked out of the gallery to look for the Chief Minister. looked up at the huge. so the gesture was symbolic rather than effective. On the floor was a pale blue unpatterned cotton rug. stroking his beard in thought.1 ARRIVING at the Haridas College of Music. 392. as most of the rugs available on the market had floral or other designs 第 155 页 共 293 页 http://www. highceilinged box with not very much natural light. Ustad Majeed Khan. the Speaker adjourned the House until eleven o'clock the next morning. Neither of them wished to talk to the other just yet. though the discomfort of the situation . in casual disarray. grimaced with distaste at two female kathak dancers who were carrying their jangling anklets into a nearby practice room on the ground floor. realizing that this meant that he was forty-five minutes late. So Mahesh Kapoor continued to put his papers in order. What few rays came in from outside were provided by a small skylight high on the far wall. He looked across at the gallery and his eye caught that of the Nawab Sahib.not quite an irony . 391 The members of the Democratic Party walked out of the Assembly. Ustad Majeed Khan nodded absently to a couple of other music teachers. It was the end of the day. I would request the honourable member Begum Abida Khan: As a result of its unjust passage by a brute majority we are left at this time with no other constitutional means of expressing our displeasure and sense of injustice other than to walk out of this House. Outside the room. frosted dome. which is a constitutional recourse.The Hon'ble the Minister of Revenue (Shri Mahesh Kapoor) : Mr Speaker. and the Nawab Sahib. rectangular. sighed a half-irritated and' half-exhausted 'Ya Allah'. and I therefore call upon the members of my party to stage a walk-out to protest the passage of this bill. After a few moments. Mahesh Kapoor gathered his papers together.en8848. The room that he entered was a plain. and entered the room. lay three sets of chappals and one pair of shoes. and arrived at the closed door of his room. took off his own peshawari chappals.was lost on neither of them. There were a few hisses and cries of 'Shame!' but for the most part the Assembly was silent. They nodded at each other in a gesture of greeting that was almost entirely friendly. then allowed his gaze to wander around the slowly emptying chamber.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 .

Motu Chand adjusted the pitch of his tabla accordingly. and began to tune it.it was Malati Trivedi . is not well and he asked me if I would stand in for him today. sat down and began to tune it.even bent down to touch his feet. got up respectfully to greet him. His students sat down as well. the plump tabla player who as a rule accompanied Saeeda Bai. This was Motu 395 Chand.of one kind or another.Bhairava ?' asked Ustad Majeed Khan. wondering to which of the three students he would give the first fifteen-minute slot. Ustad Sahib. but actually -' 'Hmmh!' said Ustad Majeed Khan. Everyone talks about their devotion to music but during examination time they disappear like rabbits into their burrows. fetched one of the smaller tanpuras. Your regular tabla player. fat young man whom he had never seen.' The Ustad then turned to the stranger. Ustad Majeed Khan.com. 'Yes ?' Motu Chand.' said Ustad Majeed Khan irritably. not deigning to look at Motu Chand. As she got up he said reprovingly to her : 'So you've decided to make a reappearance. looked at him sternly and said. 'Now which raag was I teaching you . and the authorities had very surprisingly agreed to find him one.' 'Do you have a name ?' 'Well. One of the women . smiling benignly. they call me Motu Chand. but because a bright ray from the skylight happened to fall on Malati's cheerful face Ustad Majeed Khan decided on a whim to ask her to begin. 第 156 页 共 293 页 http://www. it belonged to the boy. Strictly speaking. have you ? Now that the university is closed I suppose I can expect to see my classes fill up again.en8848. 'Excuse me. Ustad Majeed Khan looked up. She got up. sit down. but Motu Chand continued standing. But he had insisted on having a plain rug so that he would not be distracted in his music. As he was tuning his tanpura. my wife's sister's husband's friend. the man stood up as soon as he entered. Facing away from him were seated a young man and two young women. On the rug facing him sat a short.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . They turned when the door opened. surprised to see someone whom he did not immediately recognize in place of his regular tabla player. Ustad Majeed Khan was not displeased. picked up his tanpura from the rack. said. and immediately they saw it was him. for my presumption. 'Oh-hoh.

From the low notes of the raag the Ustad moved to its upper reaches and then. with an indication to Motu Chand to begin playing the tabla in a rhythmic cycle of sixteen beats. 'Music requires as much concentration as surgery. they did not wear anklets for their practice session. Ustad Sahib.' 'Yes. sat down.' said Malati. 'With a voice like hers she will cause more heartache than even she will be able to cure. He had a good voice and had put in a lot of work between lessons. Clearly the Ustad was in a good mood once again.com. Ustad Sahib. turning back to Malati he said. The other students listened intently. you really want to become a doctor ?' Turning away from Malati. You can't disappear for a month in the middle of an operation and take it up at will. But what they lost in tinkling distraction they more than compensated for in the vigour with which they pounded their heels and soles on the floor directly above. Although Malati did her best to concentrate. and began to listen. let us continue . The bharatnatyam dancers had begun their practice. She looked troubled. She sat next to Malati. Perhaps he was still upset by the bharatnatyam which sounded sporadically from above.which part of the composition were we at ?' His question was interrupted by a prolonged series of thumps from the room above. but for some reason Ustad Majeed Khan treated him rather abruptly. but if she wants to be a good musician she cannot give it second place in her life. Meanwhile. all right.' said Malati Trivedi with the suspicion of a smile.en8848. musing. Unlike the kathak dancers whom the Ustad had glared at in the hall. at one point he stopped singing to comment: 'So. The boy left as soon as his lesson was over.'No.who paid their respects to Ustad Majeed Khan before sitting down.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . Ramkali. he began to sing the composition that Malati had been learning. Ustad Majeed Khan's brows blackened and he abruptly terminated the lesson he was giving Malati. He began to sing a few slow phrases of the raag and Malati repeated the phrases after him. 'All right. Veena Tandon entered. he added ironically. 'A woman as a doctor!' said Ustad Majeed Khan.' Then. she was distracted by the entrance of two more students 396 ^'?both girls . whom she knew both as a fellow-student of 第 157 页 共 293 页 http://www. The next student was the boy. 'Hmmm!' said Ustad Majeed Khan. gently strumming the tanpura which she had laid flat on the rug in front of her.

but was still incurably shy. After the boy came the turn of a cheerful but shy middle-aged Bengali woman. Motu Chand. Then.en8848. thought that they made an interesting contrast: Malati with her fair. the Ustad said in a tone of lenient contempt: 'So I expect he'll be asking you to sing him a 揼 ojol?next.' At his cruel mispronunciation the Bengali lady retreated entirely into a flustered silence.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . he continued.' said the Bengali lady. and 397 slightly amused green eyes. She would normally come in the evenings. 'So you've come in the morning today. plumper features. not entirely ?' 'Well.' said the lady.music and as a friend of Lata's.com. apropos of his earlier lesson. Ustad Majeed Khan. 'How can I teach you Malkosh in the morning?' 'My husband says I should come in the morning. and was bringing them up well. but Malati and Veena glanced at each other with amusement. 'But you can't unlearn it. especially when criticized by her Ustad. and Veena with her darker. The voice vibrates too much in the 第 158 页 共 293 页 http://www. fine features.' he went on tolerantly.' said the Bengali lady. 'my husband would prefer me to sing not classical music but Rabindrasangeet. That the sickly-sweet so-called music of Rabindranath Tagore's songs should be more attractive to any man's ears than the beauty of classical khyaal clearly marked such a man as a buffoon. but he sings as if he were in church. who was facing them while playing. and dark eyes. whose accent Ustad Majeed Khan enjoyed mimicking. black hair. It's a good tradition in its own way. 'What do you mean.' 'Hmmh!' said Ustad Majeed Khan. It must be his earlier training in western music. and at present he was teaching her Raag Malkauns. She had three children. after a pause. said: 'The boy has a good voice and he works hard. 'Not entirely.' said Ustad Majeed Khan. animated but anxious. To the shy Bengali woman. 'So you are willing to sacrifice your art for your marriage ?' asked the Ustad. This she would sometimes call 'Malkosh' to the amusement of the Ustad. keeping her eyes down. brownish hair.

She was to sing Raag Bhairava.it's the work of a parrot. Reproducing it is one anna . somewhat perplexed herself. the Ustad sang a few phrases of a slow alaap for her to imitate.' said Veena. given the constraints of her life.' said Veena. Guruji. but her performance 399 was so unsatisfactory that at one point he said sharply to her: 'Listen. looking down in surprise at the tanpura. But then I suppose one can set yogurt in the morning and eat it at night. slightly puzzled. music mattered more to the Bengali lady than her husband and her three wellbrought-up sons. Hmm. for her to give it priority. 'Guruji ?' said Ustad Majeed Khan in a voice that would have been indignant if it had not been so astonished.com. Listen first. The Ustad was pleased with her and gave her a longer lesson than usual. as if it were somehow to blame for her own absence of mind. Veena was one of his favourite pupils. Are you worried about something ?' Veena did not think it right to speak of her anxieties before her 第 159 页 共 293 页 http://www. Ustad Majeed Khan continued : 'And if you are singing Bhairava. After she had re-tuned it. for which the tanpura had to be retuned to 'pa'. 'What raag are you studying ?' said Ustad Majeed Khan. she sat quietly to one side to listen to what was to follow. then sing. She too was surprised that in addressing her Muslim teacher she had used the title of respect due to a Hindu one.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . Listening is fifteen annas in the rupee. The Ustad let her improvise a little on her own.398 wrong kind of way. the Bengali lady acquitted herself well. 'Isn't it Bhairava ?' 'Yes.en8848. If the truth be told.' Despite her nervousness. When it was over. don't you think it would be a good idea to retune the tanpura ?' 'Oh. and even said an encouraging 'May you live long!' a couple of times. But so distracted was she by various worries about her husband and her son that she began to strum it immediately. Listen first. I may as well teach you your 揗 alkosh? One should not leave a raag half-taught even if it is the wrong time of day to sing it. What followed was Veena Tandon's lesson.' He turned to the Bengali woman : 'Tune the tanpura down to the 搈 a?.' Veena corrected herself. 'Ustad Sahib. but it was impossible. and he could not imagine what had got into her.

'I will.' Veena stopped singing and looked at him in bewildered silence. almost to himself: 'It is becoming unlivable in our area. and Ustad Majeed Khan continued: 'Why don't you strum the tanpura so that I can hear it ? You should eat almonds for breakfast . there is the whole insane business of Misri Mandi. Motu Chand started the rhythmic cycle on the tabla and they began to sing. cleared his throat and said. she could not comprehend at all.' said Veena in a subdued voice. It's amazing.' Veena realized that Ustad Majeed Khan was referring to the Shiva Temple being constructed in Chowk. and then the Bengali woman got up to leave. Once they start singing their bhajans 400 from the temple while we are at prayer. no one ever works. that desecrater of the holy shrine of music. 'The Congress-wallahs will finish Nehru and Maulana Azad and Rafi Sahib off. Wasn't he the tabla player who accompanied the ghazals of Saeeda Bai.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 .' continued Ustad Majeed Khan. But what the Ustad Sahib meant by a threat to his religion. She realized that 'livelihood' referred to the patronage of the great rural landlords whose lands the Zamindari Abolition Bill was attempting to snatch away. Apart from Marh's madness. After humming to himself for a few seconds the Ustad paused. the courtesan who served the notorious Raja of Marh ? One thought led to another.com. After a while first Malati.that will increase your strength.' he went on : 'the whole place is on strike.' he added impatiently. let's go on to the composition Jaago Mohan Pyaare. he can do something to help those of us who depend on the likes of him for protection. The small shoemakers 第 160 页 共 293 页 http://www. And our worthy Chief Minister and Home Minister will sooner or later suppress your father as well. All right. at least he can protect our religion.teacher. he turned abruptly towards Veena and said. The word 'gojol' flashed through the Ustad's mind and it dawned upon him where he had heard of Motu Chand before.en8848. 'If your father. the Minister. it can only end badly. 'Tell him that. only a couple of lanes away from Ustad Majeed Khan's house. is bent upon destroying our livelihood. Ustad Sahib. But while he has some political life. and all they do is yell slogans and threats at each other. The words of the well-known composition lent stability to Veena's unsteady thoughts and the increasing confidence and liveliness of her singing pleased Ustad Majeed Khan.

' The Ustad finished his comment with a dismissive wave of his hand. the traders tighten their belts and bluster. So that's why you are distracted .' He began to sing a complex series of taans. Everyone's interests are harmed. an expression of concern passed over Majeed Khan's face. At one point. carried away by the pleasure of the music. 'It was the beauty of your singing that carried me away. and to whom he has given reason and discrimination.' Veena. a wave that implied that everything he had ever thought about human nature had been confirmed. and continued to strum the tanpura.the plain unornamented rhythmic cycle ? Or are you in too high a circle of Paradise for that ?' Motu Chand looked pleadingly at Ustad Majeed Khan and said. The tabla player smiled embarrassedly.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . was silent. And this is Man whom God has made out of a clot of blood. but it must have been obvious that her mind was not on the composition or the rhythmic patterns .com. Guruji. 'Do you know how to play a simple theka . almost in self-reproach. started 401 to improvise a pleasant filigree of rhythmic accompaniment on the tabla. do go on.starve and scream.' he said. moved though she was by this expression of sympathy from the normally unsympathetic Ustad. 'No.' continued Ustad Majeed Khan. and Motu Chand. of course. 'Your husband knows all this better than I do. we were enjoying your solo. no employment in the whole Mandi. The Ustad abruptly stopped.' 第 161 页 共 293 页 http://www. You should leave such things with your shoes outside this room when you come in. But I won't let it happen again. Ustad Sahib. He turned to Motu Chand with sarcastic deference.the 'taans' .which followed. They resumed where they had left off.of course. Motu Chand's smile became unhappier still.en8848. the Ustad said to her: 'You're singing the word 揼 a? 揼 a? 揼 a? but is that really the note 揼 a?you are singing? I think you have too much on your mind. 'Please go on. and there are no shoes in the stores. yet no one will compromise. 'Why am I telling you this?' he said. Seeing Veena look even more upset.

'Allah-u-Akbar' .Jaago Mohan Pyaare. There was still an hour before the noon prayer.who was taunted by some in his party for being.en8848. he would smile. 6. Veena got up to leave. Kedarnath needed cheering up . Saeeda Bai's sarangi player.would vibrate across the rooftops in the cool air and his ears would lie in wait for the sentence that admonished those who attempted to sleep on. 第 162 页 共 293 页 http://www. Surely something must be done to prevent it. If the new Shiva Temple was built. It was very far from his mind that the words were addressed to the dark god Krishna. and some mornings he would be up long before dawn to sing Lalit or some other early morning raag.com. What he particularly liked in the morning call to prayer was the twice-repeated line that did not appear in the azaan later in the day : 'Prayer is better than sleep. to All India Radio Brahmpur. Surely the powerful Minister Mahesh Kapoor . or that 'Bhairava' the name of the raag he was singing . The Ustad glanced at his watch.God is Great .cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . After her lesson was over. but this was not possible today. and her mother-inlaw had just that morning made a hurtful comment on the amount of time she spent at the Haridas College of Music. the sound of the 402 muezzin's early cry would be challenged by that of the conch. He forgot the room he was in and the students still waiting for their lessons. Normally she stayed as long as she could. where he was a 'staff artist'. he forgot himself.2 ISHAQ KHAN. When he heard it. The thought was unbearable. like the Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. It was one of the pleasures of his day. had been trying for several days to help his sister's husband .Ustad Majeed Khan looked sharply at him. He thought of the call to prayer which he heard every morning first from his local mosque and then at slightly staggered intervals from other mosques across the city. The Ustad began meditatively to hum the words of the composition that he had just been teaching the Minister's daughter .' Music too was prayer to him.to get transferred from All India Radio Lucknow. Then the first words of the azaan.who was also a sarangi player . but he had intended no impertinence. Humming it. almost an honorary Muslim could do something about it. asking him to wake up with the arrival of morning.was an epithet of the great god Shiva himself. Bhaskar had a fever and wanted her attention .

A board facing the entrance proclaimed that no credit would be given . One of them had a radio . The sun was warm. state his case vociferously to a couple of musician friends he met there.of a newfangled kind that could be operated by batteries . fell into the category of 'casual artist'. The small canteen was crowded with musicians. sad. Ishaq Khan's friends. Ustad Majeed Khan sat alone at the head of the table by the far wall. Ishaq Khan. Every table except one was crowded. were staff artists. far too soon. After about fifteen minutes he turned to a faster composition in the raag. who had only accompanied other musicians a few times on the air. After a while they got up and went to the AIR staff canteen.This morning too. The entire scene was messy. but as the musicians were perennially short of cash. As always with Ustad Majeed Khan. They looked at the cannas and talked of this and that. and waiters. Perhaps out of deference to him. Ishaq Khan had gone down to the AIR offices and tried his luck by talking to an assistant producer of music.and they switched it on to the only station they could receive clearly. A couple of peons lounged against the wall. deep more in trance than in thought. The canteen was famous for its strong tea and delicious samosas. stately. It was a bitter business for the young man to realize that he could not even get to state his case properly to the Station Director. Even an orange-crested hoopoe stopped pecking around the flowerbed for a minute. musing and stirring his tea. far. Ishaq Khan turned off the radio and sat still. and then. and they sat under a large and shady neem tree on the lawn outside the buildings. noisy and cosy. the clean unfolding of the raag occurred through a very slow rhythmic section rather than a rhythmless alaap. The unmistakable voice of Ustad Majeed Khan singing Raag Miya-ki-Todi filled their ears. full of a deep sense of calm. with fixed hours and assured salaries. administrators.en8848.com. They stopped gossiping and listened. which was their own. however.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . like his brother-in-law. because he was considered something better than even an A第 163 页 共 293 页 http://www. and a children's programme was on the air. He had just begun 403 singing and was accompanied only by the tabla and his own tanpura. Raag Todi was over. but to no avail. writers of programmes. it always was. It was glorious music : grand. He did.

and had a 第 164 页 共 293 页 http://www. no one presumed to sit near him. Ustad Majeed Khan continued to sip his tea in silence and abstraction. If only he would say something to me. His two friends followed a little hesitantly. Ishaq sat at the other end facing Majeed Khan. they happened to be their disciples . There were still two empty chairs.and would usually defer to them even in speech.or even at a table drinking tea. Ishaq Khan looked around the room and. So profound had the effect of his brief performance of Raag Todi been on Ishaq that he wanted desperately to convey his appreciation. a few people from another table got up. a commanding presence. though the weather was warm. but the music he and his friends had just listened to placed them in their trivial perspective. The service in the canteen.com.en8848. They ordered their tea. and was now drinking his tea with both hands on the cup. And he used to know my father. and looked at that noble and arrogant face. was prompt. of course. B-grade artists for instance would not normally sit with those of superior classifications such as B-plus or A .so tightly buttoned at the neck that one would have thought it would constrict his voice . there were distinctions. He must know we are sitting here.unless. despite the fact that it was part of a government organization. and walked up to Ustad Majeed Khan's table. he conveyed. even an illusion of height. through his upright. one on either side of Majeed Khan. softened as it appeared to be by some transient memory or thought rather than by the permanent impress of late middle age. Ustad Majeed Khan was not a tall man. moved towards it. But Ishaq Khan chose to ignore this. I would tell him what I felt about his performance. Ishaq was quite popular in spite of his slightly sarcastic nature. As they approached. 'May we?' he asked politely. For all the apparent camaraderie and democracy of the canteen. thought Ishaq. seeing five 404 empty chairs ranged down the oblong length of Ustad Majeed Khan's table. Ishaq and his friends sat down at the three chairs at the opposite J end. He did not seem to register the presence of the new arrivals. At the moment he seemed almost unapproachable. rigid stance. but seated either on the stage in his long black achkan .grade artist. indeed. The three friends began to talk among themselves. perhaps because they were performing next on the air.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . There were many things that the younger man did not like about the elder. As the great musician was lost in some other world.

it's a silly system. 'B. But for the rest of us ' His voice trailed off. This was one reason why it was important that his sister's family move from Lucknow to Brahmpur.' 'The Station Director won't want to lose a B-plus for a B. Rafiq.' '揅 ompetence'!' 'it was*賡 ta 郙郵 ee 鄶 R!han spea'kmg. 'But Rafiq is a B-plus artist. wincing slightly as he did so. Ustad Majeed Khan. The three friends looked at him in amazement.' 'Well.' continued his friend. competence is not even a question.en8848.number of good friends. sat tight第 165 页 共 293 页 http://www.and ensures a certain level of competence.' Ishaq looked at Ustad Majeed Khan. 'it's not a bad system. Still. After his father's death he and his sister had had to support their three young brothers. What's your brother-inlaw's grade ?' asked Ishaq's other friend. you can try. deeply disquieted.' Ishaq picked up his cup. now made the suggestion that Ishaq's brother-in-law change places with another sarangi player. 'I agree. a tabla player.' said Ishaq. for someone like you. He was always 405 willing to take the errands and burdens of others upon himself. The word was spoken with a contempt that seemed to come from the deepest level of his being. displeased at being even mildly contradicted. One of Ishaq's two friends. who was keen to move to Lucknow. 'Khan Sahib. It's impartial . The memory of his father made him bold enough to speak. to grade someone in Delhi on the basis of a single tape of a performance.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . in the last years of his life. and sipped his tea. had made it to A. 'Mere pleasing competence is not worth having. remembering his father who. but that's the system we have.com. 'Unless he can upgrade himself.

Rafiq or your sister's husband . and no kalawant family wanted to marry into Majeed Khan's. but the last thing that Ustad Majeed Khan wanted for her was that she should develop her voice and become a singer. she was musical all right.' he said. The thought of the great artist's treason. His artistic strivings as a vocalist were bound up painfully with another endeavour: the attempt to dissociate himself from the demeaning sarangi tradition and its historical connection with courtesans and prostitutes . He seemed to be collecting his thoughts.it hardly matters who is where. Without thinking of what he was doing or where he was. After a while he spoke. he looked straight at Majeed Khan and said in a bitter and cutting voice : 'I have no objection to being called a mere sarangiwallah rather than a sarangiya by a great man.' It was no secret that Ustad Majeed Khan himself came from a family of hereditary sarangi players. the contempt with which Majeed Khan. Ustad Majeed Khan cleared his throat but said nothing.and to associate himself and his son and daughter with the socalled 'kalawant' families of higher-caste musicians.' Ishaq's face had gone white.com. 'You should not have a problem. His own son had the voice and musicianship of a frog. He knows I'm impartial . despite his own undoubted gifts. Whatever style the soloist has.lipped and silent. I consider myself blessed that he has deigned to notice me. had treated the tradition that had given him birth continued to enrage Ishaq. As for his daughter.en8848. In musical terms it's actually a distraction.I don't need or use sarangi-wallahs. oblivious to his friends' attempts to restrain 第 166 页 共 293 页 http://www. But these are matters about which Khan Sahib has personal knowledge. But the taint of the sarangi was too strong. 'Why does Khan Sahib not favour us with a response ?' he went on. You don't 406 need to be a master of a style. you simply follow it.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . Another was that his music would end with himself. 'For a sarangi-wallah no great musicianship is required. This was one of the searing disappointments of his life. Perhaps he can elaborate on the uselessness of the instrument.' He continued in an indifferent voice : 'If you want my help I'll speak to the Station Director. for he had never found a disciple whom he considered worthy of his art.

Other people joined in. He was gripped by an uncontrollable spasm of pain and fury. but everyone seemed to be frozen into immobility. That Ishaq.' 第 167 页 共 293 页 http://www. baited himself. however bitter. and his two friends had to force him bodily down into his chair.' retorted Ishaq. Think of your brothers.com. would have felt dishonoured if they had been alive to see their son flirting with the sister of an employer. If he talks to the Director Sahib ' 'Ishaq Bhai. on which Khan Sahib can illuminate our understanding. whose body his bow helps sell. no matter how distanced he is today.' 'Don't ruin yourself. 'There are subjects. attempting to hurt and humiliate Ustad Majeed Khan.whatever our elders say. and I knew your grandfather.' 'Ishaq. believe me.' 'They looked at the worn grooves on their fingernails without feeling dishonoured. He had another performance in ten minutes. The scene was horrible.not the entertainment of the brothel.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . I knew your father.407 him. The people at the neighbouring tables had stopped talking. Ishaq got up and almost lunged towards him. and were listening to the exchange between the younger and the older man. was painful and obvious.' 'Listen. and had to be prevented from doing further damage. enough's been said. Almost to himself and with the utmost simplicity and sincerity. how many times have I told you to guard your tongue!' 408 'Listen. It is \ikeprayer. Ishaq. Who else has the background ? We have heard of Khan Sahib's illustrious father and grandfather.' He looked at his watch and got up. Ustad Majeed Khan said slowly and passionlessly : 'But they. 'Ishaq Bhai. one must swallow it . you must apologize to him immediately. 'Music is not a cheap spectacle . he said.' Before Ishaq could respond he had started walking towards the door.en8848. was now doing the baiting. for Ishaq was well-liked. They were men who understood the meaning of respect and discrimination.

Of course it was extremely 409 unlikely . 'Khan Sahib.com.I'll never apologize . who was almost at the door of the studio.' Ustad Majeed Khan looked at the interc 閐 er and said: 'If a dog pisses on my achkan.8 that God should have given him this gift -' 'Enough.3 IT had been some days since Saeeda Bai had saved Maan from suicide.yes. you decide which raag you will sing . as he put it. the boy didn't know what he was saying. Several of Ishaq's well-wishers left the canteen to try and pacify the insulted maestro.when you were about to perform. Ishaq turned towards him with tears of hurt and anger : 'Would you marry your son to his daughter? Or your daughter to his son ? Who is he that God is in his pocket ? . yes. Ustad Sahib?' But Ustad Majeed Khan went on to sing a Hindol of calm and surpassing beauty.and his friend Firoz had told him so when he had complained to 第 168 页 共 293 页 http://www. that such a man who insults the memory of his elders and mine .yes.to that . elders have always treated their youngers like children.But Ishaq was almost incoherent : 'Never . who was about to agitate the airwaves in his own great agitation. Khan Sahib.to think.everyone creeps on all fours before him .never . said nothing. Ishaq ' said an old sitar player.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 .en8848. None of it is true. Khan Sahib.he talks like a mullah about prayer and devotion . do I become a tree ?' The sitar player shook his head and said. 'Khan Sahib.' Ustad Majeed Khan. you can have a twenty-fiveminute slot .this man who spent half his youth in Tarbuz ka Bazaar -' People began to turn away in pity and discomfort from Ishaq. with tolerance. 6. You must not take what he said seriously. enough.O God ! If Miya Tansen were alive he would have cried to hear him sing his raag today . 'I know it was the worst time he could have chosen .on my father's grave .

and he saw that same bright. sitting near an arched doorway on a very pale orange rug. only perhaps implied .unlike Saeeda Bai's strong and responsive harmonium . face. The dozen or more 'girls of good family' from Brahmpur whom he had been in love with and who in general had loved him in return.tender-hearted . But Maan knew that Saeeda Bai.com.at least to him .that that happy-go-lucky young man would have made any attempt even to cut himself while shaving in order to prove his passion for her. Saeeda Bai too made hungry where most she satisfied. one remark that implied . But even more than that it was her nakhra. 410 She had framed one of the paintings from the album of Ghalib's poems that Maan had given her. and looking out of the archway into a mysterious garden. he also knew that she would take it as more than a merely flattering figure of speech.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . as far as was possible. the art of pretended hurt or disaffection that she had learnt from her mother and other courtesans in the early days in Tarbuz ka Bazaar. Part of it was simply the delicious skill with which she made love.that something he had said or done had caused her injury . he would be seized by a frenzy of sexual desire. What she had framed was 'A Persian Idyll'. Everything is in the saying. And the instrument that the woman was holding . she became more than everything for him.was so finely tapered in the stylized illustration that it would have been entirely impossible to play it. And when it did. and although he knew she did not believe that he was in any danger from himself if she refused to make love to him. which showed a young woman dressed in pale orange. perhaps not even beautiful. while saying that he could not go on in this harsh world without her. Saeeda Bai practised this with such curious restraint that it became infinitely more believable. Like that other source of domestic strife. censorious world. For minutes at a time he would lean over her shoulder and kiss her neck.en8848. Saeeda Bai . he would protect her from the cruel. The woman's features were sharp and delicate. she had not dared to display that particular illustration for fear of exciting his further fury. glancing every few moments at her face in the hope of seeing her mood lift. repaired the page that the Raja of Marh had ripped out of the volume.for that moment at least . One tear. And after they had made love. ceased to exist. Although she had. For a while all his past loves vanished from his heart.and Maan's heart would go out to her. No matter what the cost to himself.became everything for him.him of his lovelorn miseries . sad smile that had so captivated him when she sang at Holi at Prem Nivas. and graced him with a smile only when she herself was in the mood to satisfy him. was .perhaps. holding in her slender fingers a musical instrument resembling a sitar. though hard-headed. had been as soulful as it was possible for him to be. and Maan. 第 169 页 共 293 页 http://www. unlike Saeeda Bai's very attractive but unclassical. Saeeda Bai seemed to know this.

He could not have been happier at this sign of Saeeda Bai's attachment to his gift. He lay in her bedroom and stared at the painting and was filled with a happiness as mysterious as the garden through the archway. yes.Maan did not care that the book might be considered damaged by having the painting thus plundered from its pages. She said a little sharply to Maan : 'It is good to live in a household like I do where one does not have to imagine such things.' 'Oh ?' said Saeeda Bai. Whether glowing with the immediate memory of her embraces or chewing contentedly at the delicate coconut-flavoured paan that she had just offered to him at the end of a small ornamented silver pin.' said Maan out loud rather dreamily. 'I sometimes think I would be happier without a father.en8848. had claimed not to know.or anyone else for that matter.just like us -' This remark struck Saeeda Bai as being in somewhat poor taste. Would he have been happier to have been immaculately conceived ?' 'I think so. 'that our parents also must. When I opened the cloth business in Banaras. Mohsina Bai. She had been accused by Brahmpur gossip of destroying 411 several settled marriages by casting her lurid nets around hapless men. She did not know who her own father was: her mother. Besides. 'I often feel that whatever I do my father looks upon with contempt.com. who was quite fond of him by now and knew that he usually blurted out the first thing that came into his head. Now that I have made a go of it. Why should I ?' 第 170 页 共 293 页 http://www. he is taking the line that I should sit there every day of every month of every year of my life. 'How unimaginable it is.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 .have . Saeeda Bai. most insubstantial and yet most real. tried to cheer him up by saying : 'But Dagh Sahib looks distressed. 'Oh.' said Maan.' said Maan. who had clearly not been expecting this. She did not at all wish her imagination to be transported to the domestic love-making of Mahesh Kapoor . domesticity and its standard concerns were not objects of fond contemplation for her. Baoji told me it would be a complete failure.' Maan looked a little chastened. it seemed to him that he himself had been led by her and her music and her affection into a paradisal garden.

'My grandfather had a parakeet who didn't speak for a whole year and then wouldn't stop talking for the rest of his life.' said Saeeda Bai dismissively. 'Why ? Why ? Why ? Why ? Why ?' 'Because your father can get me to sing at your wedding. Saeeda Bai seemed to think that a couple of months would be sufficient. of whom she had become fond. 6. 'Oh ?' said Saeeda Bai in such a way that the question. 'And at the birth of your children.' She was silent for a few seconds. And at their marriages. And at their mundan ceremony. 'You cannot cause your parents so much pain. 'In fact I sometimes wonder what you see in an old woman like me.Saeeda Bai did not say anything.' advised Saeeda Bai.com.' said Maan angrily.en8848. 'And why should I marry ?' continued Maan.' Maan became very indignant.' he said. of course. 'And I won't be able to visit you after I'm married.' said Saeeda Bai with a smile. 'I've never heard anything like that. 'Anyway. why are you holding that cage in such a funny way ?' 第 171 页 共 293 页 http://www.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . rather than leading to a reply. implied the closure of the conversation.and everyone thinks I must marry her just because my father and mother say so.' 'I don't find her at all attractive. his arm. Ishaq Khan brought in the cage.' Saeeda Bai turned towards him and buried her face in 412. 'Why do you say things like that? Do you do it just to get me annoyed ? No one ever meant much to me until I met you.' said Maan. 'But I won't be alive to do that.4 AFTER a while they got up and moved to the other room.' she went on. 'But you must get married. but Ishaq was doubtful. Saeeda Bai called for the parakeet. spreading his arms wide on the bed and touching Saeeda Bai's cheek with his left hand.' she said. 'That will merely take time. That girl in Banaras whom I met twice under heavy escort is less than nothing to me . He raised his voice and said. and a discussion ensued about when he would learn to speak.

setting the cage down on a table and rubbing his right wrist.'Oh.com. Sir'. and the three of them soon began to make music for Maan's pleasure. and as if undecided about her mood and the kind of song she wished to sing. Then. 'Well. 第 172 页 共 293 页 http://www. and moving her left hand onto the bellows of the harmonium. She had used a more intimate 'you' than she had ever used so far . humming to herself. he did not show it. 'Just a pain in my wrist. 'Well ?' said Saeeda Bai. After a little while.' In fact it was very painful and had become worse during the previous few weeks. what would I do if I didn't play ?' 'Oh. You don't have plans to go off for a wedding in the family. after a minute had gone by. she began to play a few notes of Raag Pilu.' said Saeeda Bai. Her head was covered with her sari. not very sympathetically. smiling. Ishaq bit his lower lip from time to time as his bow moved across the strings. 'You seem to play well enough.' said Ishaq. but he said nothing. I don't know. she modulated to a few other raags.en8848. A couplet he'd heard somewhere came to his mind : Among the lovers the Saki thus drew distinction's line. 'What would you like to hear ?' she asked Maan gently. Saeeda Begum ?' said Maan. Maan looked at her.'turn' instead of 'aap'. 'There's probably nothing the matter with your hand. Saeeda Bai sat on a Persian rug with her harmonium in front of her. do you ? Or to leave town until your famous explosion at the radio station is forgotten ?' If Ishaq was injured by this painful reference or these 413 unjust suspicions. Handing the wine-cups one by one: 'For you. Saeeda Bai told him to fetch Motu Chand. 'Saeeda Begum.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . and she stroked the double string of pearls hanging around her neck with a finger of her left hand.' said Saeeda Bai. 'What do you want to hear?' Again she used turn instead of aap and sent Maan's world into a happy spin. tickling the little parakeet's beak. it's nothing really.

cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . Can't you hear me changing from raag to raag ?' Then.' she said. in English ?' asked Maan. 'Oh. what is to be sung ?' 'Whatever you wish. Motu Chand and Ishaq Khan exchanged glances.' said Motu Chand. when he hardly knew what he said. 'It amazes me.' said Maan. But Saeeda Bai was inclined to take offence at something else. Clearly they thought that Maan was quite far gone in his fascination with Saeeda Bai. 揥 hatever you wish. anything. he thought.' said Saeeda Bai.com. Motu.' Maan had still not plucked up the courage to use 'turn' or plain 'Saeeda' with Saeeda Bai. Or do you want to hear a thumri instead of a ghazal ?' 'A ghazal will be best. except when he was making love.' 'What. and 'Thine'. Saeeda Begum. 'Will you really ?' Then she 第 173 页 共 293 页 http://www. Saeeda Begum. Whatever you feel is in your heart.' by Ghalib.' Til learn Urdu!' said Maan enthusiastically.en8848.' said Motu Chand happily. 'You blockhead. and suggested 'It's just a heart. 'to see the great poet Dagh illiterate in his own language. Perhaps. 'I'm giving you the choice of music and you are returning the problem to me. We must do something about it.'Yours' . 'Anything at all.?What ^ghazal ? Quickly. she said : 'So. Saeeda Bai. She asked Maan teasingly. turning away from Maan. not brick and stone. At the end of the ghazal Saeeda Bai turned to Maan and said : 'You must write a dedication in your book. and say. I'm giving you an opportunity that most of my audiences would kill themselves to receive and all you do is smile back at me like a weakbrained baby. Saeeda Bai laughed. she just used it absent-mindedly with me and will be offended if I reciprocate. 'There are twenty different 414 things in my heart.

'Tell him to come up at once.' Five minutes later Bibbo returned with a very broad grin on her face and said.asked Ishaq to call the maidservant. It's his income I want to increase. girl. 'He won't come? Does he know who pays him to give tuition to Tasneem? Does he think his honour will be unsafe if he comes upstairs to this room ? Or is it just that he is giving himself airs because he is a university student ?' 'I don't know. For some reason Saeeda Bai was annoyed with Bibbo today. 415 Bibbo assumed a satisfactorily apologetic expression and said: 'But he's here already.' said Bibbo. Begum Sahiba.' 'As I know ? As I know ?' said Saeeda Bai with renewed impatience. 'He won't come. And nor do you.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 .do you think he has the jaws of a tiger? Stop grinning.com.' said Maan. He didn't really want to be saddled with a lot of 第 174 页 共 293 页 http://www.' she said impatiently. 'You're smiling just to annoy me. and ask him why. but to be unaffected by it. 'Well ?' said Saeeda Bai. 'And you forgot to tell the cook that the parakeet's daal was not soft enough yesterday . and this re-ignited Saeeda Bai's annoyance.' said Bibbo. as you know. She came in grinning. 'I don't know anything.' 'Actually. 'Then go. who was beginning to regret his sudden enthusiasm. Bibbo seemed to know this. But he will come when the lesson is over. not my own. you silly girl.en8848. but alone.' she added. and tell me what time is Abdur Rasheed coming to give Tasneem her Arabic lesson ?' Saeeda Bai felt safe enough with Maan to mention Tasneem's name in his presence. Saeeda Bai. 'He was very angry when I interrupted him again. He was teaching Tasneem a complicated passage in the Quran Sharif and told me that the divine word would have to take precedence over his earthly income. I'm not sure I want to learn Urdu.' A few minutes later Bibbo was back.

' said Saeeda Bai with a tender smile.hard work. By now. I am afraid I am a little late already for my next tuition. 'Time is not a problem with Dagh Sahib. 'The understanding will be the same as with Tasneem. the Minister. 第 175 页 共 293 页 http://www. who enjoyed introducing his friends to the tastes and joys of his own Nawabi lifestyle). where you study.5 ONE night.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . and waited to hear what was required of him.com. 'And the name of the gentleman ?' 'Oh yes. however. He spoke in a somewhat clipped manner. coming straight to the point. he tends to be free all the time. The young man nodded a little reluctantly. 'That will be fine. whom the world so far knows only by the name of Maan Kapoor. or 'I must settle down' (to Veena. can you teach my young friend here Urdu ?' asked Saeeda Bai. And his elder brother Pran teaches at the university. I hope that when I come tomorrow we can fix up a suitable time for our lesson. as if he were still slightly piqued by the earlier interruptions to his Arabic lesson. fixing his sharp eyes on Maan he said. exhausted from marking examination papers. When do you tend to be free ?' 'Oh.' said Saeeda Bai. 'It will be an honour to teach the son of Mahesh Kapoor. 'This is Dagh Sahib. quite hesitantly and a little disapprovingly. who believed in getting practical matters sorted out quickly.en8848.' 6.' said Saeeda Bai. Then. He was always making resolutions such as. He did adaab to the whole company. but she was sleeping soundly still.' said Rasheed. 'I must learn polo' (to Firoz. or even 'I will not give swimming lessons to whales' (which Pran considered illjudged levity). And he hadn't expected the conversation to take such a practical turn so suddenly. I'm sorry. His wife had her arms around him. But he made these resolutions safe in the knowledge that their implementation was very far away.' The young man was frowning with a sort of inward concentration. the young Arabic teacher was standing outside the door. He is the son of Mahesh Kapoor. who was the only one in the family who was capable of ticking him off to some effect). 416 'Rasheed. He had been kicked. Pran was sleeping soundly when he was awakened with a jolt.

'Oh. But it kicked me through your belly.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . shaking his wife's shoulder. all right.en8848. And so will the baby.com. a little indignantly. 'I'd have felt it.' said Pran. 'Have it your way. Go back to sleep.' said Savita.' 'But it really did!' said Pran. Savita opened a reluctant eye. and it woke me up. 'The baby.' 'Anacoluthia. 'It couldn't have. 417 'Uh. 'What did ?' said Savita sleepily. Savita .' 'Tes. lying down again. 'Mm.' 'It did. all about chiasmus and Anna .'Savita. unhappy with her lack of response.' He was very insistent. You probably don't feel its kicks any more. 'Are you awake ?' asked Pran.' 'Our baby did what ?' 'It kicked me.' Savita sat up carefully and kissed Fran's forehead. And I'll also go back to sleep. And you sleep very soundly. it definitely did. and smiled in the dark. that's all. before sinking back to sleep.' 第 176 页 共 293 页 http://www. and 1 was 揾 aving good dreams and he didn't want to disturb me. You're dreaming.' 'Well it did.' said Savita. 'It couldn't have. felt Fran's lanky and comforting body near her.the baby kicked me!' said Pran excitedly.' said Savita.' 'What baby ?' 'Our baby. I think he must have known that you were having bad dreams. rather as if he were a baby himself.whatever her name is.

whom his mother referred to only as 'woh' that woman.' 第 177 页 共 293 页 http://www.?Or perhaps he was. I don't think it was an angry sort of kick. was in no mood to cut off this conversation. 'He?' 'I sense he's a boy.' said Pran. I hope. suddenly remem418 Bering that his mother had asked him to talk to his brother about the direction of his life . and all's well. Just informative. Savita. interrupting a nightmare. as Pran was drifting off to sleep.' said Savita in a resolved sort of way. Then. as you say. 揌 ere I am. 'Or an intellectual like his father ?' 'Oh. his mind on other matters. 'Handsome .cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . why not?' said Pran. 'He could do worse. 'Our baby.and especially about Saeeda Bai.com. 'In what sense like Maan ?' asked Pran.' 'Maybe he'll be like Arun .' said Savita.' 'Oh ?' said Pran. Savita said : 'He seems to have a lot of energy.very dashing and sophisticated. now wide awake with her thoughts.' 'Or do you think he'll have the temper of my grandfather ?' 'No. 'Do you think he will turn out to be like Maan?' she asked.'Excellent baby.en8848.' said Pran.and a flirt ?' 'Maybe. They were silent for a while. But without his asthma. half asleep. it's two in the morning. Pran got another hug. drawn back in.

yes. but this latest flight of Savita's fancy was too taxing at two in the morning.com. and how wonderful it would be to make love with her. Pran merely grunted. and passed his hand across her forehead. turned towards the bedside 419 table. savouring its coolness in the warm night. You should walk around a bit.' 'I worry about you. switched on the bedside lamp. Pran frowned.' 第 178 页 共 293 页 http://www.?Perhaps that's why he kicked me. 'You don't get enough fresh air. 'But you don't get enough exercise either.' Savita drank the water slowly. coughed a little.' Savita laughed. 'Here. he might take after the women in this family. But he'll have disowned us long before that.' was her response. 'He might turn out to be like your mother or mine. as they do in fivestar wombs. 'Thanks. mm. not a lecturer. and you use your lungs too much. looking at her with slightly rueful affection. 'You don't know Arun well enough. if he's like Arun. I must speak to the manager so that I can get my nutrients on time. 'Anyway. even during your pregnancy. What the natives need is a good solid dose of discipline.' said Savita.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 .' said Pran. 'I'm fine.' 'I don't. In fact.' Pran sat up. 'You don't sound too good. I wish you were a writer. darling. And they should adjust the temperature of the amniotic fluid in this indoor swimming pool.' The thought pleased her.' Pran lied. he's probably thinking at this very moment: 揂 wful service in this room. Pran.' he said. I'll disown him. Pran smiled.' Savita went on.' said Pran. How beautiful she looked now.en8848.'Sorry. But what can you expect in India ? Nothing works at all in this damned country. and poured out a glass of cool water from the thermos flask. 'No. Savita. a glass of water. 'Do you want me to get you something to drink ?' he asked her. 'If he turns out to be like your brother.

'You have spoilt him all his life.'I know.' said Mahesh Kapoor. Then she rallied and said : 'Is it good for your public image either ? A son who does nothing but spend his time with that kind of person ? The rest of the time he lies down on his bed and stares up at the fan. goodnight.com.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . his eyes still open. all right. He was supposed to come here on business. If you read between the lines it seems that they even have some idea about well. 'I've been reading the book my mother gave me. After all.' Sometimes wisdom lies in not taking an ironical remark as ironical.' said Savita.' she said. I'm asking myself if I'm happy. about 搕 hat? Why else would they be so concerned ?' 'Uff-oh!' said Mahesh Kapoor impatiently. They realize no doubt that our son is too good for their daughter and want to call the whole thing off.en8848. 'How can we hold our heads up in front of people if this goes on ? And it is not good for Maan either to spend all his time and money like this. But how long will this last ? It isn't just me *but my wi 頴 an. Give me the glass. 'Yes.' 'All right. 'Do I have to hear about this from everyone ? In the Assembly canteen. Mrs Mahesh Kapoor said: 'No. he told himself.' He switched off the light and lay in the dark. I never expected to be as happy as this. darling.' 'You speak to him. yes! Get to the point. and closed his eyes.and I don't know what to reply. Is there nothing more important in the world to talk about ?' But Mrs Mahesh Kapoor persevered. Mahesh Kapoor. Please speak to him. something serious. and he has done nothing in that line. quite the opposite. They want to fix the date as quickly as possible .' Mrs Mahesh Kapoor was silent. what can a mother say ?' 'All right. yawning now. but a tear trickled down her cheek.' said Mahesh Kapoor brutally. and it hasn't made me cease to be so. everywhere I hear about Maan and his idiocy ! This morning two or three people brought it up. 第 179 页 共 293 页 http://www. all right. in my own office. He 449 should do something else. I don't have the heart to say anything to him. yes.. 'It is very important for our family.

' Maan got into the car. At polo practice Firoz had not mentioned that he would be going out for dinner. 'Yes. 第 180 页 共 293 页 http://www. What then was to be done with Maan ? At about eight o'clock that evening he was about to get into the car to visit Baitar House when he told the driver to wait. We're going to Baitar House. under the care of a competent assistant. There was.' said his father sternly.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 .' 'All right. he realized.15 AS they entered the grounds of Baitar House. He was thinking of Saeeda Bai.' said his father. and now he was looking forward to visiting Saeeda Bai and exercising his wit. 450 6.' Maan came down looking none too happy. among other things. Then he sent a servant to see if Maan was in the house. and thought it would be good to take him along for moral support when he went to apologize to his old friend the Nawab Sahib. 'I am assuming you have nothing better to do. 'Baoji ?' he said enquiringly. When the servant told him that he was sleeping. As it happened.He reflected that the cloth business in Banaras was. doing better in Maan's absence than it had been doing when he was there. however. But Maan was less than cheerful at the moment.' 'Then you should get used to adult company again. We are going to visit the Nawab Sahib of Baitar.en8848. then. She would be expecting him and he would not even be able to send her a message to say that he could not come. Earlier in the day he had been exercising hard on the wooden horse. he cheered up a little at the thought that he might meet Firoz. 'Get into the car. and tell him to dress and come down at once. 'No Not really. he also enjoyed Maan's cheerfulness.' 'Do you want me to come along?' asked Maan. no way to avoid being kidnapped. Mahesh Kapoor said : 'Wake up the good-for-nothing fellow.com.

but to no effect. was pleased to see Maan and went up to him immediately to shake his hand. Mahesh Kapoor got up from the old leather sofa and started walking up and down. looked at the handsome pair with a little more than approval. who was hanging around near the library. though he found the situation uncomfortable. and that he would be informed of the Minister's * arrival.com.' Firoz. It would be difficult to say who was most embarrassed by this sudden intrusion. 第 181 页 共 293 页 http://www.you've crippled it already. and his patience was at an end. Not only the mellower reading lights but the great chandelier in the middle of the library had been lit. The crass Marh snarled : 'Speak of the Devil.en8848. Murtaza Ali. Maan put his left arm around his friend's shoulder and said: 'Don't shake my right hand . And at the large round table below . who was interested in young men more than in the jargon of the Zamindari Bill. The old servant said that the Nawab Sahib was in the P.with papers spread out around them and even a couple of buff leather-bound law-books lying open before them .They were asked to sit in the lobby for a few minutes. the Raja and Rajkumar of Marh.' 45 ! The Rajkumar of Marh.sat three other sets of fathers and sons : The Nawab Sahib of Baitar and Firoz. He was tired of twiddling his thumbs and staring at photographs of white men with dead tigers at their feet. Ghulam Rusool made a few ineffectual attempts at dissuasion. A few minutes more.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . After ten minutes or so. and two Bony Bespectacled Bannerji Barristers (as that famous family of lawyers was known in Brahmpur). He told Maan to come with him. The Minister of Revenue with his son in tow strode up to the library door and flung it open. and walked through the high-ceilinged rooms and somewhat ill-lit corridors towards the library. library. was brushed aside as well. Brilliant light blinded him for a moment.

No mere minion but the Minister himself. plotting against Mahesh Kapoor's bill with a man whom he would normally have shunned.' The Nawab Sahib felt that he had been caught redhanded. Presumably. however. it was not. And Mahesh Kapoor realized instantly that he was the least welcome intruder imaginable at this working conference . the expropriator. the fount of injustice.for it was he who was the enemy.' said Mahesh Kapoor.') glanced quickly at his son ('S. you came by rickshaw. I could hardly have known you were here. 'I told you we should have had the conference in our chambers.' 'I will have to count my number-plates before I leave. let me send my son with you.com. The Raja of Marh had become red in the face. He did not say anything. the Nawab Sahib had hoped that by inviting the Raja to 第 182 页 共 293 页 http://www. The Nawab Sahib found his voice. Your Highness.' Mahesh Kapoor said : 'Since I was not blinded by the vision of your gold number-plates outside.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 .' Since common interest in the impending litigation had thrown him together with the Raja of Marh anyway. The Raja of Marh broke the silence with a laugh: 'So you have come to spy on us! We are flattered.') as if to say. And I apologize to all of you. He was thinking that this could well be a plot by the Muslims and their sympathizers to humiliate him.I should not have insisted that we meet here. The Nawab Sahib knew immediately that his friend would have done anything in his power to help him when Baitar House was under siege . 'If you need any help. especially to you.N. 452. the government.The elder Bannerji ('P. 'No.but that he had been ignorant of the crisis. but slowly nodded his head. It was. Mahesh Kapoor who broke the ice among the elder circle by going up to the Nawab Sahib and taking his hand. He can count till two. 'Was this planned?' he demanded of the Nawab Sahib.N.en8848.' continued the Raja of Marh. No words of sympathy or apology were needed. Mr Bannerji . the other side.

Firoz admired his intelligence but thought him a prig. and thought of Firoz as rather too languid for life at the Bar. Firoz loathed the crude.N. The Rajkumar of Marh was a basically decent and not bad-looking but somewhat weak young man who was bullied by his father. Bannerji. I think we have already discussed the main lines of the matter. suggested a few things that they could do together. though no older than Firoz. The younger Bannerji. had cases shovelled his way by his family's old clients. but he still succeeded in living beyond his means. If. His sense of family honour made him keep his distance from the Rajkumar as well. was not a prig. who was inclined to like people unless they made themselves unlikable. fees he insisted on before he accepted a 453 case went to support a scattered harem of women .en8848. The elder of the Bony Bespectacleds. Mahesh Kapoor's eyes fell on the 第 183 页 共 293 页 http://www. it would considerably improve their chances of having the act declared unconstitutional. The communal situation * j among the Hindus and Muslims in Brahmpur was so troubling that the Nawab had swallowed his gorge and a little of his pride in order to help sort things out. had a flourishing practice already. and rapacity. it would certainly be challenged in the Brahmpur High Court. now said in a rather finicky voice: 'Well. as was now almost inevitable. Bannerji. and discovering that he was at a loose end these days. quite attracted by Maan. and I hope I can persuade him to appear for us in this matter if and when it is necessary. Not so Maan. The Bannerjis took their leave. some would say unscrupulous. and therefore null and void. He was intelligent. and can adjourn for the moment. His grandfather. a little along the lines of his finicky father. acumen. and became law. obtained the President of India's signature.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . worked hard. appalled by what had gone before. the Nawab Sahib. The Rajkumar.N. and Mahesh Kapoor were standing by the table in the full light of the chandelier. Meanwhile the Raja of Marh. he was as energetic erect on his feet in court as erect off his feet in bed. I will inform my father by letter of what has been said by all sides. Bannerji could be persuaded to appear on behalf of the landlords.N. Muslimbaiting Raja : 'black as coal with his diamond buttons and ear-tops'. If G. The huge.' He was referring to the great G. The move had now backfired. the great G. and Maan agreed to meet him later in the week.or at least to create the possibility of a later talk.his own house he might get the chance to talk to him a little about the Shiva Temple in Chowk . however.com. a lawyer of legendary fame. Though he was in his seventies. the amended bill went through in the Upper House.

remembering the Raja's earlier jeer.' It was well known that the Raja of Marh had gone drunk and babbling to the dour Home Minister of India.' Mahesh Kapoor did not respond. I myself have nothing to lose.' 'And what miracle do you expect this time ?' Mahesh Kapoor could not resist asking. He said. almost equally to the Nawab Sahib and the Minister of Revenue : 'I asked you that question merely from altruistic motives. 'you may recall that it was the army of monkeys that defeated the army of demons. 'Article 362. Sardar Patel.or political insects like you.' said the Raja of Marh.' sneered the Raja of Marh.papers spread out on the table. And in exchange.' 'Now you are talking like your dear friend Agarwal in the Assembly.' 'In due course. 'One law for men and another for monkeys ?' 'If you still call yourself a Hindu. The Raja crushed it with his thumb. of the Constitution. Minister Sahib. the law cannot loot them and the courts cannot touch them. 'Read away. and had even smudged his 第 184 页 共 293 页 http://www.' 454 'Oh?' said Mahesh Kapoor. he quickly turned his gaze away. Minister Sahib. and by the covenants of merger that we rulers made when we agreed to join your India.' said the Raja of Marh.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . but then. no.' 'My own pocket ?' A silverfish scurried across the table. gleefully spitting out a number larger than two. to sign the Instrument of Accession by which he made over his state to the Indian Union. My lands are protected from your laws.com. I am supporting the other zamindars simply because I do not care for the attitude of the government .en8848. 'These are our private lands. be our guest. The Nawab Sahib said : 'Should we move into the drawing room ?' The Raja of Marh made no attempt to move. 'I meant. the Revenue Department of the great state of Purva Pradesh. our own private lands. 'No. of course. tell me when exactly you plan to vest the ownership of our lands in your own pocket.

and raised one hand slightly.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . taking advantage of his disorientation. No doubt G. The Rajkumar followed his father. Mahesh Kapoor was thinking that. 'We will see.' Whatever story lay behind this taunt. And it was disturbing that a coalition . and with an assured arm led him towards the drawing room. and Firoz had promised to send a message to Saeeda Bai . unresolved air to events.' On the way out. Winded. it had a signal effect. they noticed the Raja's long black Lancia with its solid gold ingot-like licenceplates stamped 'MARH i' lurking in the drive. he raised his face from among the law-books and scattered papers. vicious lunge towards Mahesh Kapoor. but both he and his friend knew that he was referring less to the 455 immediate incident than to his delay in coming to Baitar House.however volatile .en8848. very sorry' . Mahesh Kapoor expected that the Nawab Sahib would call him up the next day to apologize for what had happened. the Raja of Marh looked dazed. as if he was uncertain where he was.' Mahesh Kapoor said. quickly went up to him. 'We will see. 'Let things be. and fell towards his left onto the table. despite his explosive timing.com.thus creating a unique historical document.N. Luckily he stumbled over a chair. He could sense how affected the Nawab Sahib had been when he had taken his hand. After a while. The whole business was very uncomfortable: there was a strange. as if to say. if any. 'I am sorry. growling. But a page of a law-book had got Tom. In the car back to Prem Nivas. Firoz.signature with his tears . he was glad that he had not waited still longer to reassure his friend. each was lost in his own thoughts. Bannerji will defend Your Highness in the future as ably as he has defended your lowness in the past.' said Mahesh Kapoor. let's go.of former enemies was coming into being out of self-interest or self-preservation against his long-nurtured legislation. he said to his son: 'Come. Maan was thinking how glad he was that he had met his friend again. Maan. The Raja of Marh made a sudden. He would very much have liked to know what legal weaknesses. the lawyers had found in his bill.and if necessary to take 第 185 页 共 293 页 http://www. staring at the Tom page. but not offer any substantial explanations. It was all over in a few seconds. He had told Firoz that he would probably be stuck with his father the whole evening. The Nawab Sahib looked towards Mahesh Kapoor. For a second.

then wrote the character 'meem' again.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 .' said Rasheed. 'I want to read Urdu and to write it. Dagh. it appeared to care about what happened to Maan as well. on the floor.to inform her that Dagh Sahib had been detained.' said Maan shortly. dipped it in the inkwell. he felt. In a way. 6.com.en8848. all right. 'What does it matter. fussy. 456 r 'Your mind isn't on the tip of your nib. you have put yourself in my hands. It looked to him like a curved spermatozoon.why not concentrate on what you're doing ?' 'Yes. v 'I can't do this. multiform. and wrote a perfect. Maan frowned. Do I have to do this?' He reflected that he was asking for permission as he used to when he was a child. crosslegged. be careful.16 'NO. He tried again. It looks beautiful on the printed page. was difficult. 'Mir. 'If you want to make use of my time . but had taken complete control of him in his role as a teacher. hoping that Maan's answer would not be the predictable one once more. elusive. sounding for a second remarkably like his father. The Urdu alphabet. *but to write it ' 'Try again.and I am here at your service . He then wrote another below it: the letters were identical. unlike either the solid Hindi or the solid English script. as two letters rarely are. and I don't want you to start on shaky foundations. not to practise calligraphy. Ghalib. 'Well. all right. Rasheed was no older than he was. It appeared to care that the task should be done well . but not without concern.it there personally . 第 186 页 共 293 页 http://www. 'Ghazals. So what would you like to read now ?' Rasheed inquired with a slight smile. think.' The voice was slightly mocking. looking up from the sloping desk at which he was sitting. Don't be impatient.that the neatly lined page should not become a record of shame and shapelessness.' Rasheed took the bamboo pen from his hand. anyway?' asked Maan. dark blue 'meem'. yes.' said Maan unhesitatingly.

'So what do you say?' said Maan. well -' Rasheed said nothing for a while. just as it suited her. though there was rather a sharp expression on his wolflike face. But for now. Sometimes she would see him.' Rasheed responded after a few seconds. unbearably bland and tense and pointless. But he rebelled against his attempt to impose a new infancy on him. and he sensed that Rasheed needed the money. Then. but these evenings. 'Look.com.en8848. and lose his sorrows and his money in gambling and drink. if you aren't in the mood for a lesson today?' Rasheed's voice was kinder than Maan had expected. And so here he had to sit in a cool room on the ground floor of his beloved's house with his back hunched over a pad with sixty aliphs and forty zaals and twenty misshapen meems. however. he felt crazy with unhappiness and frustration. He had nothing against his teacher. in a way he liked his conscientiousness. 457 'Eventually. if Firoz and Imtiaz were not at home. He knew that Saeeda Bai was paying Rasheed. having found an analogy ridiculous enough to suit his dismay. as it usually did. The whole thing was so cruelly erratic. the Rajkumar of Marh and his set. Yet Saeeda Bai had made a compulsory half-hour lesson a day with Rasheed 'the little bitter foretaste' that would whet his appetite for her company. thought Maan.'Yes. Maan would fall in with his latest acquaintances. a phrase from the sarangi. 'Why don't we start today ?' 'That would be like teaching a baby to run the marathon. while occasionally a few magical notes from the harmonium. of course. 第 187 页 共 293 页 http://www. a strain of a thumri floated down the inner balcony and filtered through the door to frustrate both his lesson and him. and it ruined his concentration. you will be able to.' Maan put the pen down and stood up. and if family life appeared. What Rasheed was pointing out to him was the first step on an endless and intolerably tedious road.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . if word came through Bibbo or Ishaq that Saeeda Bai preferred to be alone. just try that meem again. when his lesson was over. He had no sense of what to expect. And decades before he could pen the love-letters he yearned to write. sometimes not. at this rate it would be years before he would be able to read even those ghazals that he knew by heart. There was tension in his eyes at the thought of having to teach ghazals to Maan shortly before going over passages of the Holy Book with Tasneem. Maan never enjoyed being entirely by himself at the best of times.

and he was a well-respected man. so I thought that beating people up was what made people look up to him. and we would egg each other on. 第 188 页 共 293 页 http://www.com. was what Maan needed even more than perfect meems. 'When I was younger.' Maan sat down again.who now consider myself truly sober . At 1 any rate. My grandfather used to do so in our village. even if he did. his soul. that's fine. Selfcontrol. But.would spend my time beating people up. and when I fall into bad company -' He stopped.' 'So you're zamindars ?' Maan was surprised. no.458 'No.' he said. We'd just go up to some schoolfellow. I've learned to follow another voice.' To Maan this sounded like the advice of a good angel. 'You see. to be alone and to understand things . 'I . There were about five or six of us. who might be wandering innocently along. well. 'Isn't it pathetic that you should be sacrificing your dignity for a person of Saeeda Begum's profession ?' Perhaps all this was present in his three crisp words. 'I have a weak will.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . Let's go on.maybe to be alone and to be misunderstood. What I would never have dared to do alone. Maan suddenly felt like confiding in him. frowning. because he doesn't like your father's plans. should he care ? But Rasheed appeared to understand. What on earth was he saying? And how would Rasheed know what he was talking about ? And why. and chases the village children away when they disturb him. He botched another meem before asking : 'And is your grandfather still alive ?' 'Oh yes. I don't any more. 'Why have you got yourself trapped in a place like this?' he wanted to ask Maan. one beating him towards paradise with a quill. And soon 459 he will try to chase the officers of the law away too.en8848. One was coaxing him towards hell with five poker cards. reverting to his former tone of voice.' said Rasheed.' said Rasheed. 'He sits on a cot in the shade and reads the Quran Sharif all day. or perhaps a risen one. It's just a question of self-control. it's like this -' began Maan. In his imagination's eye he saw the Rajkumar and Rasheed struggling for. it struck him. and slap him hard across the face. I did without any hesitation in company. 'Indeed it is.

As for myself -' He paused. then went on: 'Some of the most respected of landlords do not even keep their word. before he divided his wealth among his sons.' said Maan.' He got up. and I have seen the whole system.' Here Rasheed paused.' he continued. 'If their sons want to do anything else. 'Our apologies. The main fact is that the system of landlords isn't good for the villagers. and until it goes?' The sentence remained unfinished. I know how it works. but they have no sense of honour except to gratify the promises of pleasure they have made to themselves. But I have lived in the village almost all my life. as if he was in pain.' He was silent for a second. The zamindars .com. and the area around the corners of his mouth tightened. and they try to force their sons into the same ugly mould as themselves. and Rasheed quickly straightened up. Ishaq Khan and Motu Chand entered. Rasheed was pressing his fingertips to his forehead. they are so petty. to keep things as they are. without finishing his previous sentence. 'Well ?' he nodded genially at the musicians. This was a far cry from meem.well.and my family is not so extraordinary as to be an exception to this . my uncle. I'll see you v tomorrow. but when I got to the grand house I was told . it isn't good for the countryside as a whole. 460 Only a few minutes earlier he had been counselling care. not merely of circumstances.the zamindars do nothing but make their living from the misery of others. who appeared to speak out of some terrible pressure. no. concentration.' 'No.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . who am I to set myself up in judgment in these matters ? They are very happy. 'The time for my lesson is over. 'Well. they make life miserable for them too. And so is my father and so is my. There was a knock on the door. Kapoor Sahib. but Maan listened with sympathy to the young tutor. and I'm depriving Begum Sahiba's sister of her Arabic. as if hesitating. all this is irrelevant.' he promised ^Rasheed impetuously. and my meems will be matchless. you're quite right to enter. and moderation for Maan. 'Is it life or death ?' 第 189 页 共 293 页 http://www. it isn't good for the country. 'They talk a great deal about family honour. well. then continued.Rasheed thought this over before saying: 'My grandfather was.en8848. You might find this hard to believe but I was virtually offered a job here in Brahmpur as the curator of the library of one such great man. appeared to look over Maan's page. naturally. anyway. 'Well.

' Motu Chand looked at Ishaq for a clue. it was true. then. 'It's no more than she has prescribed for me. Tasneem was often in tears after her lessons with Rasheed. turning around slowly. Till tomorrow.' said Maan. angry and hurt. but Ishaq's face reflected his own perplexity. indeed. but it had stiffened. at any rate. 'Good.en8848. blurted out : 'And Tasneem is indisposed as well. Ishaq Khan coloured at the patent disbelief in the teacher's voice. as you can see. 'Yes.' said Maan.' At the door he turned and added: 'If I thought it would do any good. Was he now acting as an emissary for Tasneem as well ? 'What gives you that understanding ?' he asked. who was still standing by the door. I fear that this evening . 'Well. My soul.I mean the Begum Sahiba asked me to inform you ' 'Yes. has avoided indisposition as successfully as she has been avoiding me. 'And. whatever state she is in now. who would have been very much more concerned if he had believed in her indisposition. 'Kapoor Sahib.' 'It is just that she is indisposed.com. Rasheed's back was 461 towards them. she will be indisposed after her lesson with you.' said Maan. He had heard Ishaq Khan's excuse to Maan.17 RASHEED was just picking up his books when Ishaq Khan.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . one to be taken every hour and several before she retires.But from Motu Chand's downcast looks he anticipated Ishaq Khan's words. it had not increased his respect for the sarangi player that he had acted in this demeaning manner as an emissary for Saeeda Bai. And. 'I trust that she will recover rapidly.' 6.' he replied challengingly. 第 190 页 共 293 页 http://www. I am flourishing as a result. I would prescribe her a string of meems. My deep respects to the Begum Sahiba.' Motu Chand glanced at his friend. yes.' Ishaq disliked lying and was bad at it.

'Provoke him ? Why. Tasneem was spending so much of her spare time on Arabic these days that she had very little left for anyone e'ise.en8848.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . Or a haafiz. 'I am no more rigorous with her than I am with' . Motu Chand placed a restraining hand on his shoulder. Ishaq Bhai ?' said Motu Chand after a few seconds. Ishaq's eyes flashed. Her Wessons appeared to have recnrectea Viet even irom romantic novels. tears or no tears.' Ishaq was too dumbstruck to say anything.' said Rasheed.' And yet.' he added a little bitterly. Rasheed walked past him and out of the room. One's emotions are largely a matter of self-control. you know. 'And anyway.'She has a tendency to tears. Master Sahib ?' said Ishaq hotly. 'She is a delicate girl.' Rasheed frowned. He now spoke almost to himself. reflected Ishaq painfully.he had been about to say 'myself 'with anyone else.com. 'Tasneem has a tendency to indolence. 'And this is exacerbated by that halfwitted parakeet which she keeps interrupting her work to 462 ?#晻 *摃* feed or indulge. His last remark -' 'He couldn't have known that you had given her the parakeet. Master Sahib. he provoked me. 'What made you provoke him like that. sounding more harsh than he intended.' continued Rasheed. Nothing is painless. If there are any problems with my teaching.' 'She appears to have lots of tendencies. 'But she is not unintelligent and is making good progress.' 第 191 页 共 293 页 http://www.' 'Can't you be a little less rigorous with her. She is not training to become a mullah. It is no pleasure to hear fragments of the Book of God being mangled in the beak of a blasphemous bird. her guardian can inform me in person or in writing. Did he really wish her young teacher to start behaving gently towards her ? Rasheed had gathered up his papers and books.

' cried Ishaq.' said Motu Chand. 'She is not seeing anyone this evening. This hand follows the tune by itself. Motu Chand had four small children. holding them up and looking at them as if he hated them. And even my brother-in-law won't be able to come to Brahmpur to help us now. Motu ? And what does your wife have to say about your new-found prowess ?' 'You know what I mean. let alone ask for a transfer for him ?' 'It's bound to get better. For the last hour upstairs it has been torture. 'These wretched hands. what would he have said if he had heard me speaking like this ?' 6. did it? Have you tried any of its recipes? How many women has it lured into your power. How can I show my face at the radio station. He said : 'So that owl book provoked you.' 第 192 页 共 293 页 http://www. everyone knows. 'Even music.' 'But you were playing so well -' 'What will happen to me? To my younger brothers? I can't get employment on the basis of my brilliant wit. 'Even music means agony to me now. Ishaq Bhai. but the subject was one he could hardly bear to think of.' said the watchman. and it seizes up with pain.18 'THE BEGUM SAHIBA was very explicit. 'Listen. there's nothing to be gained by putting people's backs up. If my father had been alive.com. I'll help you -' This was of course impossible. Just now -' 'It's these wretched hands of mine. our upright Rasheed.' said Ishaq Khan 463 to himself.'Why. I cannot bear to hear it even when I am not on duty.' 'He probably doesn't. Don't distress yourself like this. He doesn't interest himself in that kind of thing. What got into you? Why are you provoking everyone these days ?' The reference to Ustad Majeed Khan was not lost on Ishaq. undeflected. shaking his head.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 .en8848. Ishaq.

' 第 193 页 共 293 页 http://www. looking rather shamefaced. 'you have to let me in. and Bibbo emerged. The watchman continued to look entirely matter-of-fact about the whole incident.' 'No. she added : 'At least not 464 *? until half an hour ago. She will be wanting to see me. is she very ill ?' asked Maan in vicarious pain. laughing.' This struck Maan as distinctly unfriendly. 'No one. slipping a two-rupee note into the man's hand.stop it ! Dagh Sahib. her hand flew to her mouth. standing before the gate. when she had a sharp pain around her heart. 'That means I must go and see her. 'She will not be wanting to see you.' said Bibbo.' 'Who's with her ?' demanded Maan. 'Bibbo.en8848. The watchman took the note and said : 'She is not well. as she caught the watchman's eye.no one. as I've just said .' said Maan. well.' said the watchman.' He tried to shoulder his way past the watchman.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 .please .'Why ?' demanded Maan. 'Ill ?' said Bibbo.' he said. that is. and there was a scuffle. of course. Then. but the watchman resisted. She can't see you . 'Why ?' 'I do not know.' 'She's not in the least ill.' 'But you knew that before.' said Maan. 'Who's ill ?' 'Saeeda Bai.what will Begum Sahiba say ?' This thought brought Maan to his senses. When she saw what was happening. Voices were heard from inside. 'Please find out. please . Then she gasped out : Thool Singh .' said the watchman. Neither he nor the watchman was injured.com. and he brushed down his kurta.or anyone. 'Now look. a bit aggrieved.

He reflected with a little envy that Firoz. Since she was entertaining a patron 第 194 页 共 293 页 http://www.' 'Did he deliver a note ?' asked Maan.' said Bibbo. and was annoyed at Maan for having sent him. Yet. when she received Maan's message that he could not come on the appointed evening. 'I tried . 'Jealous.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 .' And she left Maan standing on the pavement looking very agitated. with the Nawabzada. however pleasant. She could not afford to get emotionally attached to this light-hearted.' 'With Firoz ?' said Maan.' said Bibbo with a light laugh. could thereby communicate in writing with Saeeda Bai. She had a profession to keep up. 'I must go in now. astonished.'Someone is with her. 'I think so.' said Bibbo.' said Bibbo.I just couldn't get away. 'But she was certainly angry with your messenger. light-headed. not without sympathy.' said Maan fiercely. 'Because I didn't come that day as I had promised. 'Yes. And this fact too annoyed her.' said Maan.en8848. with a sharp stab of jealousy. This house depends on their generosity. 'it is not like you to be like this. a little vaguely.she cannot cast them off. Begum Sahiba has her old admirers .com.' 'Is she angry with me ?' asked Maan. 'Angry ? Why ?' asked Bibbo blankly. 'And why was she angry ?' asked Maan. and probably light-footed young man.' 'Like what?' said Maan. who could read and write Urdu. Saeeda Bai had in fact been greatly displeased to see Firoz. 'I don't know. she could not help feeling disappointed and sad. 'Dagh Sahib. and he was definitely in the nature of a distraction.' 'I don't think she was angry with you. And so she began to realize that it might be a good thing if he stayed away for a while.

These students . Rupvati would entertain the friends quite often. Rupvati was free to entertain any of them or to take a night off. and often told them that she did not know what she and her daughter would have done if it hadn't been for their kindness. they began to walk in the direction 第 195 页 共 293 页 http://www. 466 On the other nights. The Rajkumar and his friends ate together. and these students looked upon their unwealthy lecturers with easy contempt. four of whom were still in Brahmpur at the beginning of the summer vacation. Saeeda Bai's reaction was irritation at what she saw as Maan's interference in her professional life: he had no claim on her time or what she did with it. Maan cheered up slightly at this and. activity that could distract him at least for a moment. This would have been just about equal to Fran's entire salary. her expression ranging from sexual passion to flirtatiousness to tenderness to indifference to irritation to anger. The Rajkumar mentioned Rupvati.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . incapable of getting Saeeda Bai out of his mind. 'Dagh Sahib. The parakeet was receiving a more elaborate education in the ways of the world than most of his fellows. wondering what to do with his time. she had instructed the watchman to keep everyone else . Maan had spilt out all his troubles on his shoulder.and particularly Maan . Dagh Sahib' quite a number of times. and one of them would stay behind afterwards. He remembered that he'd said he would drop by to see the Rajkumar of Marh.two the scions of other petty princedoms. Maan had wandered off. and one the son of a large zamindar were not short of money. These went to support a very beautiful nineteen-yearold dancing girl who lived with her mother in a street not far from the university. talking to the parakeet. But later still. and so he made his way to the lodgings not far from the university that the Rajkumar had taken with six or seven other students. When Bibbo later reported to her what had happened. played cards together. taking the bottle with them. The mother would greet the boys very affectionately. Each of them spent fifteen rupees a month on mess fees (they had their own cook) and another twenty rupees a month on what they called 'girl fees'.this 465 evening. any. she said. and shared each other's company a good deal. Within half an hour of meeting the Rajkumar of Marh and drinking a fair amount of whisky. she was very pleased to see them. This way each of them got a turn once every two weeks by rotation. Most of them got a couple of hundred rupees a month to spend as they liked. but craving some.en8848.com. but the understanding was that she would have no other clients.away. and suggested that they visit her.

' . moved it significantly upwards. 6.en8848. 'This is a great risk for me. 'I know what we'll do. he shook it away with a laugh. Maan was in no mood to resist this suggestion. and wound through the narrow streets towards Tarbuz ka Bazaar. 'Don't do it again. 第 196 页 共 293 页 http://www.' he said. 'Oh. with the bottle passing between them. hailing a tonga and pulling Maan onto it. 'Why not some other night .?' The Rajkumar was quoting from the curious and detailed rules of conduct promulgated for the students of Brahmpur University.of her house.19 THEY soon got to Old Brahmpur. and in a couple of minutes. they serve very good biryani there. But the Rajkumar suddenly remembered that this was one of her nights off..' Maan began to laugh. 'but because of our great friendship I am doing it. 'I don't mean that. 'Because 揳 ny student who is seen in an undesirable place shall be liable to immediate expulsion. This particular rule sounded so 467 vague and yet at the same time so delightfully draconian that the Rajkumar and his friends had learned it by heart and used to chant it in chorus to the lilt of the Gayatri Mantra whenever they went out to gamble or drink or whore. But when the Rajkumar. who had placed a friendly hand on his thigh. 'I mean that taking you to Tarbuz ka Bazaar is a risk for me. and that they would not be entirely welcome there.com. Maan was beginning to have second thoughts. The Rajkumar did not take this rejection at all amiss. We'll visit Tarbuz ka Bazaar instead. how ?' said Maan.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 .' said the Rajkumar.?' he began.' he said. 'I feel ticklish. they were talking as easily as before.' Now it was the Rajkumar's turn to laugh.' said the Rajkumar. 'Oh.' said the Rajkumar.

'Oh. Tahmina Bai's place is just around the corner. and hastened to reassure him that the others would be cleared out in a couple of minutes. alone. The Rajkumar then walked up a flight of narrow and steep stairs. 468 The Rajkumar and Maan were about to beat a retreat. barrel-bodied. was ready to entertain them. redtongued.'Where ?' 'At Tahmina Bai's.com. dreamy-eyed Tahmina Bai was giggling in delight as an opiumeyed.' Maan's head sank on his chest and he went off to sleep. one of them with his head in her lap. prodding Maan to placate Tahmina Bai as well.^ They dismounted. then . When they got to Tarbuz ka Bazaar.' said the Rajkumar.she fell into a sulk.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . paid the tonga-wallah. 第 197 页 共 293 页 http://www.was beating on the tabla and singing an obscene song in a thin voice. and when they had walked a few steps along the corridor they were faced with a curious scene.en8848. pulling a tipsy Maan behind him. Two scruffy lower division clerks were lounging around.realizing that time was * getting on . when the madam of the establishment saw them and bustled quickly towards them along the corridor. The two loitered around a paan shop for a few minutes. Tahmina Bai. First she sang a thumri. 'From here we'll have to walk. The plump. and walked hand in hand into a side alley. pretty. vacant-faced. and with a beatific smile on her face. middle-aged man . then went back upstairs. 'Ye-es -' said Maan. She knew who the Rajkumar was.' 'Not far ?' 'No .not far. the Rajkumar woke him up. I've been there once or twice when it's been a non-Rupvati day. But when they got to the top of the stairs they heard a confused noise.an income tax clerk . They were trying to sing along. do sing.

I have something to show you. then started laughing again. I'm not in the mood . it's too . 469 But Tahmina Bai had not finished her joke. Then Tahmina Bai told Maan that she herself had something to show him in the other room.en8848. let's go. leaning out from a window above.grace us with some . After a few minutes she emerged.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . Maan.no.so he leaned against a wall to urinate.what poor poetry can Akbar write When the pen is in his hand and the inkpot upstairs ??' This was followed by squeals and snorts of laughter. After another swig from his bottle.' said the Rajkumar. But Tahmina Bai was pouting sweetly. you don't appreciate my voice.and she said -' Tahmina Bai giggled.' 'No. and to Maan's fuddled amazement he found himself joining in. hah poetry!' Tahmina Bai was no longer in a sulk but in an ungovernable fit of laughter. 'The poet Akbar Allahabadi was in Banaras when he was lured by some friends into a street just like ours.' She looked downwards and pouted. He had drunk quite a lot .what happened ? . When she was finally capable of speech. he looked at her in wonderment. Her pretty little jowls shook. 'at least grace us with some poetry.'No.Akbar Sahib is gracing us with his poetry!' Tahmina Bai began to laugh uncontrollably once more.a courtesan. 'She said .come. 'Well.ah. and she snorted with delight. I won't. shaking from side to side. she told them a joke. 'I've already . and led him in. no. and went on : 'So when he heard her. the tears running down her face. The Rajkumar was mystified.com. ah . And then . recognized him from one of his poetry recitals and .just like you .' said the Rajkumar. 'Oh.' This sent Tahmina Bai into gales of laughter.hah. the poet made this remark on the spur of the moment : 揂 las . She squealed and squealed and held her sides and gasped. with Maan looking bedraggled and disgusted. She said to the Rajkumar: 'Now. while the Rajkumar took another couple of swigs.' 第 198 页 共 293 页 http://www.

Though she did not say anything to him.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 .en8848. He put an arm around Maan and they struggled towards the door. fell on his bed and went off to sleep.are . Firoz was an addict to his 第 199 页 共 293 页 http://www. cornpared to Maan. black and empty. If his father had seen him in his present state he would have had a fit. They spent the evening together. she was afraid for him. When she saw Maan so drunk and unsteady she was very unhappy.20 EVEN though he had not done anything as such with her. The Rajkumar persuaded him to go home instead. Maan was feeling so remorseful about having visited such a low singing girl as Tahmina Bai that he wanted to go to Saeeda Bai's again immediately and beg her forgiveness.Tahmina Bai looked affronted. He practised a bit of polo with Firoz. however. but Firoz was busy during the days and sometimes even during the evenings with law or other work. he visited Saeeda Bai. Now not only the days but the nights as well stretched interminably ahead of him. and she was glad to see him. Maan took it greatly amiss. The next day. Even if he could have seen Saeeda Bai every evening. Neither of you could grace me with your poetry!' She began to laugh and shake. he considered these activities proper to the son of a Nawab. 6.very similar ! What do you need me for ?' The Rajkumar had got up. Mrs Mahesh Kapoor was awake. He took him to the gate of Prem Nivas and left him there. and said: 'Both of you are . Unlike the young Bespectacled Bannerji. As they walked into the corridor they heard her say : 'At least have some biryani before you leave. Firoz did not treat time spent playing polo or deciding on a proper walking-stick as wasted. and wondered what he had done wrong. Maan. and her laughter followed them all the way down the stairs into the street. contrite.com. his days would merely have trickled by drop by drop. guided to his room. He suffered from acute jealousy and thwarted desire. Tahmina Bai let fly : 'It might give you strength. and that he should not take it amiss. It will be ready in a few minutes -' Hearing no response from them. But she told him that she would be occupied for the next two days.

'Surely he's not fallen out of love with you.but unlikely. was walking up and down Nabiganj in a lovesick haze when he bumped into an old flame of his. Veena told him off roundly. 第 200 页 共 293 页 http://www.com. for which there was a recent craze among the more self-consciously dissolute students in Brahmpur took place mainly in the students' rooms. however.asked Maan if he would join them for coffee at the Red Fox. Their drink was invariably Scotch. and old Mrs Tandon looked at him even more suspiciously and disapprovingly than before. For this he was chaffed by all his new companions. and went into the Red Fox. but retained a great affection for Maan.' They let it go at that. who told him that he might lose his abilities permanently for lack of exercise. who would normally have accepted the invitation with alacrity.usually flush.to do a bit of purchasing and to seek a few orders for the cloth business in Banaras .' she said. Her husband . He paid a visit or two to his brother Pran and his sister Veena.profession. mystified. Maan thought of Saeeda Bai all the time. Maan too continued to like her a great deal. She was now married. Having exhausted all his other possibilities.en8848. but the very domesticity and purposefulness of their lives was a rebuke to his own.but found it too irksome to pursue. 'I don't know. Maan tried to follow suit . separated from his companions. asking him what kind of an example he thought he was setting for young Bhaskar. Maan Kapoor doesn't fall out of love with anyone as a rule. but sometimes even poker. But Maan. One day Maan.who had the unlikely nickname of Pigeon . Kedarnath. and declined a visit even to the beautiful Rupvati. Maan began to hang around the Rajkumar of Marh's set and (though he did not visit Tarbuz ka Bazaar again) drank and gam4?i bled away much of the money that had been reserved for the business. patted Maan on the shoulder. looked away unhappily and said that he had to be going.' 'That's possible . The gambling . but sometimes in informal gambling dens in private houses here and there in the city.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . as if to compensate for his mother's coldness. 'Why is your old admirer behaving so strangely?' said her husband to her with a smile.

His mother kept at him. the old lady.en8848. Sometimes when you're away I cry to myself all night long.6.' she said.Kedarnath paid no attention. 'She saw me wear it at Fran's wedding and liked it. had simply not noticed. What am I to think ? And you are always away. Veena was not mollified.' 第 201 页 共 293 页 http://www. as long as he slept here every night. she had ceased to wear those that came from her parents.' But Veena looked so unhappy with her lie that the truth soon came out. domestically impractical and often absent. began to notice that Veena had not been wearing certain items of her jewellery: that though she continued to wear her in-laws' pieces. and your eyes closed for minutes on end. 'We can't have that. 472. some of which she diverted to her daughter. it would have been better to have a drunkard as a husband.' 'Why not?' demanded Veena. Kedarnath discovered that running the household cost far more than she had told him it did . 'and then I find you with your head in your hands.' said Kedarnath. until eventually he agreed to ask Veena to put on her navratan. One day she reported this matter to her son.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . who kept tabs on everything. who wants to copy the design. Of late. smiling a bit sadly. 'Bhaskar's Nani is surely allowed to give him those.' she burst out. She had hoped that by asking him for less household money she would reduce the financial pressure on his business. But now he realized that she had taken steps to pawn or sell her jewellery. 'Your father helped us enough three years ago. Veena flushed. he.' said Kedarnath. 'You never tell me anything. why not? It's not as if she's supplying us our rations. Kedarnath also learned that Bhaskar's school fees and books were already being supplied out of Mrs Mahesh Kapoor's monthly household money.' 'There's something out of tune with my Veena today.21 MAAN was not the only target of old Mrs Tandon's suspicions. 'I've lent it to Priya.com.

' 'Over-extension is just over-extension. It's all right. so I don't even attempt it. At least in the short term something good has happened to me. Haresh's arrangement with the brogues is about to come through any day.' burst out Veena passionately. Now get the navratan back. Why can't we guard what little we have ?' Kedarnath was silent for a while.en8848. I know.' 473 'Go and get them back.' 'No. How can you gamble with your mother's navratan ?' 'How can you play chaupar with Bhaskar's future ?' Kedarnath closed his eyes for a few seconds. I promise you that that is true. 'You understand nothing about business. 'I understand enough to know that you can't keep 搊 ver-extending?yourself. The shops in Bombay have paid up at last.' he said. and everything bad always happens.'Now calm down. Veena.' Veena looked at her husband very dubiously.' 第 202 页 共 293 页 http://www. will never be greatly fortunate again. I know I'm a bad liar.' 'Go and get them back. She said she'd get me an estimate.com.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 .' 'Well we.' 'Now that's not true. Where are these jewels ?' 'Priya has them. 'Everything good is always about to happen. it really is.' 'Show me the money fast'.' 'They haven't yet been sold then ?' 'No. 'This isn't Lahore. and our long term problems will be solved. All great fortunes are based on debt. Then he said : 'Get the jewellery back.

' said Kedarnath with decision. 'It's too hot on the roof. If it's in my house. Your mother won't want her beloved son to turn black as ink. Veena got the jewellery back late that afternoon. she had decided to subjugate urgency to discretion. Early the same evening. and I want to make sure she keeps it. then.Kedarnath burst out laughing. Priya was 474 not able to give her an estimate. it belongs to Veena. we'll play in this room. Mahesh Kapoor said : 第 203 页 共 293 页 http://www.com. you and I. Kedarnath went over with it to his father-in-law. Let's play a game of chaupar. and asked him to keep it in his custody at Prem Nivas.en8848.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . 'What on earth for?' asked Mahesh Kapoor.' 'Pawn it ?' 'Pawn it or sell it. gazing reminiscently at each stone in turn. 'At Dr Durrani's.' 'What madness. she might suddenly be struck with noble fancies and pawn it. after she had sobbed for a bit and subsided into silence. 'Where's Bhaskar ?' he asked. with the witch hanging around the gossipy jeweller every minute of his previous visit. 'Why are you bothering me with these trinkets ?' 'Baoji. I hope he stays there a couple of hours more.' 'Good.' Veena dabbed at her eyes with her handkerchief. Veena looked at the navratan. What's been going on? Have all my children taken leave of their senses ?' After a brief account of the navratan incident.' 'Well. Veena burst into tears.

it won't disappear again. *籰^v^vxxt *. V? 揻 o '-?. The predictability of his optimism was fatal to his chances.' 475 6.' 'No. who would mind your constituency if I decided to leave Misri Mandi ?' 'True. All right. After he had got completely cleaned out. He could sense that even when he was with her.' 'Kedarnath. The more he drank. Baoji ?' There. despite their mutual excitement and affection.in his hand. he was entirely un-poker-faced. all he won was four rupees. the more he lost.around my neck? Yes. she was finding him less amusing as he became more intense. It's good that you have to go back because I have to deal with these files before tomorrow morning.22 LATER that night in the house where the Rajkumar and his friends lived. I should be getting back now.-擽.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . yes. Put it down here somewhere. was nowhere else on the table to place the navratan. and his fellowplayers had a shrewd idea of how good his cards were from the instant he picked them up. 'And besides.but it hasn't collapsed yet. Fine.aa allowed to see so rarely these days. but thank you.^-A. Til be working all night.' 'What . Baoji.' said Mahesh Kapoor inhospitably.TL 獵 j.'And how is your business now that the strike is finally over ?' 'I can't say it's going well . Besides.en8848. He usually held onto his cards far too long before packing them in or asking for a show. he muttered in a slurred voice that he 第 204 页 共 293 页 http://www. I'll see that Veena's mother puts the stupid thing away somewhere. Kedarnath. He lost ten rupees or more on hand after hand . on that pink one: 揙 rders of the State Government on the Assessment Proposals? Don't look so anxious.-ilAvi-o. run my farm instead.or begum .on the files. 'Where else then . and vice versa..'. he 擃敆 i 钃 x ?:V. Every time he got a queen . Baoji.and when he held three kings.' A further thought struck him. The market must have opened already.com. -=. Maan lost more than two hundred rupees gambling on flush.

The watchman. not brick and stone. Bibbo came out and chided Maan gently. It was past midnight. wyj/teit-i wra V? S-att-iit 莚 a/s. Dagh Sahib. not brick and stone. Dagh Sahib. and she has asked me to tell you that she will never see you in this state. and left.' suggested the Rajkumar.23 第 205 页 共 293 页 http://www. ' he suggested. 'Spend the night here if you wish . 'Come.' said the watchman matter-of-factly. tfe. 'Take my tip on account. and when I told her.com. He bore Maan no grudge for the scuffle they had had the other night. Maan started singing. 'Kindly go 476 home. Begum Sahiba asked who was singing. why should you torture me in vain ?' 'Kapoor Sahib. 'Yes.' 'It's just a heart.' sang Maan.en8848.' said the watchman calmly and led Maan gently but firmly down the street in the direction of Prem Nivas. but she will not see you tonight. I will weep a thousand times.' said the watchman. and turned back to the rose-coloured house. Please forgive my impertinence. asked him to go home. 6. no -' said Maan. this is for you . she was most annoyed.you're a good man -' said Maan. Sahib. but there was no money in them. why should it then not fill with pain ? Yes.had to be off. appealing over his head to Saeeda Bai : 'It's just a heart. you will wake up everyone on the street. seeing the state he was in. Sahib.go home in the morning. I believe she is fond of you. I am only repeating her words. He turned them inside out. 'No.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . This is a respectable house. 'Here. Tfcc/鹠 g -stnrre pu^rry on the way and singing from time to time. reaching into his kurta pockets.

His eyes were glazed. broke. Baoji. The papers on the table and the glass of water near his father's hand seemed to frighten him. Baoji. 'Yes. who was working late in his office. Baoji.com.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . and continued to walk up the stairs.' 'What Banaras people?' Maan inquired. his curiosity aroused. Did I tell you to sit down ?' Maan tried to stand up.' Maan stopped. Maan tottered back to Prem Nivas. what has come over you ? What has she done to my boy ? Do you know what people are saying about you ? Even the Banaras people know by now. and told her to go to sleep. He sat down on the chair across the small table at which his father was sitting.' said Maan.' said Mrs Mahesh Kapoor.' Maan stumbled down the stairs and into his father's office. Then he tried again. 揥 hen she saw him. To bis surprise and rather unfocused distress. 'Then come down here at once. She told him to go up to his room by the garden stairs to avoid disturbing his father. 'Yes. Maan put his arm protectively around her shoulder. 'Who's that ? Who's that ? Is it Maan ?' came his father's angry voice. 第 206 页 共 293 页 http://www. and leaned across the table towards his father. 'What Banaras people. his mother was waiting up for him again. he asks. who had not taken in this last instruction. went humming off to bed by the main stairs.DRUNK. 'Stand up. 'Maan. and far from happy. my dear son. and began to cry even more intensely. There was a strong smell of whisky on her son's breath. tears rolled down her cheeks. 'Did you hear me?' called his father in a voice that reverberated across half of Prem Nivas. There was no one in the office besides the two of them and a couple of lizards that kept scurrying across the ceiling throughout their conversation.en8848. She was already overwrought because of the business with the navratan. 477 But Maan.' 'Yes. but failed.

en8848.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . his mouth set in a tight line. suppressing his first instinct. He had a file in his right hand. 'I don't care how much of this you remember tomorrow morning but I am not going to wait until you are sober. enraged. He began to drift off to sleep. 'Do you understand ?' Maan nodded his head. He was about to slap Maan hard across the face when Mrs Mahesh Kapoor rushed in and said : 'Don't . and raised his hand to touch his cheek. He was so sleepy that he could only hear a few words drifting in and out of his consciousness. closed his eyes and collapsed back into the chair. She was crying. His father. came around the table. and he relented. this tingling. awoken by the sensation.don't . 'Baoji!' said Maan. Maan gasped. His father raised his right arm again.com. it seemed to him. and with the back of his hand slapped his twenty-five-year-old son across the face. Mahesh Kapoor picked up the glass and threw the water on Maan's face. Maan. then let it droop gently on his chest. stared at his father. meanwhile. But whose ? 'Have you seen yourself? Can you imagine how you look ? Your hair wild. your eyes glazed. 478 Mrs Mahesh Kapoor sat down on one of the benches that ran along the wall. All he wanted to do was to cut off what was going on outside his head: this angry face. Some of 第 207 页 共 293 页 http://www. your pockets hanging out. Somewhere. even more furious now that his wife was crying because of something he had done. He yawned.listen to me. there was a sort of tingling pain.don't do that-' Her voice and eyes pleaded with her husband. 'Now you listen. Maan. his eyes stern. which was to close his eyes again. a whisky stain all the way down your kurta -' Maan shook his head. Do you understand ?' He raised his voice and repeated. which he slowly transferred to his left. unless you want another of those . this shouting. and started shaking him as if he wanted to jolt every bone in his body. and began to laugh.' said his father.Mahesh Kapoor stood up.

watching the water drip down the front of his kurta. relieved. 'The business money. Mrs Mahesh Kapoor put her hands to her ears. suddenly been solved : 'Yes. She was behaving. Aloud he said. that was it. 'Then you must have drunk and gambled it away.en8848. Maan frowned in deeper concentration. Ah yes. 'Shameless . 'What did you do with the money? What did you do with it ?' asked Mahesh Kapoor.you spent it on that whore.' Maan shrugged. Maan looked at his father. 'And the spending money I gave you ?' continued his father threateningly. in a pleased tone. thought for a second. She would be clapping her hands over her mouth next. and I 第 208 页 共 293 页 http://www. as if an intractable problem had. like all three of Gandhiji's monkeys rolled into one. one channel taking the route of his whisky stain.you are behaving worse than a depraved zamindar. and frowned in concentration. and he looked shamefaced.' Then the implications of this last word struck him. Her husband snorted. Maan coughed and choked and sat up with a start. recalled Maan. 'No. His mother covered her eyes with her hands and sobbed.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . after long endeavour. and shrugged again. Baoji. Drunk .' said his father in disgust. 'What did you do with it ? I'll tell you what you did with 479 it . then said.gone.com.gambled . 'What money ?' asked Maan. I only brought her small presents.shameless .' Mahesh Kapoor would never have referred to Saeeda Bai in such terms if he had not been driven beyond the limit of restraint. that is it.it fell on his own papers but he didn't even look down at them. She never asked for anything more ' He was wondering to himself where the money could have gone. he thought impatiently.

' And he went off to bed without help. Maan looked at the two geckos on the ceiling as they scurried about to and fro. He thumped the pink file in front of him. Mrs Mahesh Kapoor was at her wits' end: her husband had been so incensed last night that he hadn't slept for hours. Is debauchery your only skill ? I never thought I would be ashamed of a son of mine.and then you chase after Saeeda Bai. that Maan would have to leave. Nor had he been able to work. but to no avail. cleared up miraculously in a couple of hours.suddenly . we arrange a good match for you . Then . 6. and what do you do with it ? . 'I will not have it. and your own life.will not have it. Get out of town. and said: 'All right. which. This is your last night in this house.he got up with great resolution and without assistance. let alone 揻 or this and for that? And what of your fianc 閑? We find a suitable girl from a good family. Out!' Mrs Mahesh Kapoor begged her husband to rescind this drastic command. whose life and history are an open book.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . Get out at once.you gamble with it or spend it on whores or on whisky. 'Go to bed at once. You are ruining your mother's peace of mind. Any suggestion of reconciliation from her had met with an almost incoherently angry rebuke from him. however. If you want to see someone with real hardships look at your brother-in-law he never asks for money for his business. and our family reputation.' 'But I love her. his incredulity mixed with rage. He remembered that his father and he had exchanged words. She realized that he was quite serious. and my political career. 'Love ?' cried his father. and I will not have you here any longer.' said Maan.24 THE next morning he woke up with a dreadful headache. I will not have you here.' cried Mahesh Kapoor.com. and waited till the Minister of Revenue had gone to the Assembly before he went to ask his mother what it was they had said to each other. get out of Brahmpur. Get out! Go to Banaras or wherever you choose. I give you money.en8848. I 480 want you out by tomorrow. Goodnight! Goodnight! Goodnight! I'll go! I'll leave this house tomorrow. and this had incensed him further. even remembering to take off his shoes before he fell off to sleep. but get out of Brahmpur. Hugging her son to her she said : 第 209 页 共 293 页 http://www.

he was getting to be too demanding of her time and energy. 'No. behave responsibly. desiccated father told him so. Unlike before. He decided that he would go and stay with Firoz. On the way up the stairs. A white. somewhere else in Brahmpur. and that he had been thrown out of the house. Saeeda Bai called out in a welcoming voice. failing that. He would not leave this beautiful city or forgo the chance to meet the woman he loved because his disapproving.'Go back to Banaras.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . When she heard his step on the corridor. he was expected. I'll do that at the station.' Saeeda Bai had slept over the question of Maan and had concluded that something had to be done. with Pran.' None of these four clauses appealed particularly to Maan. he now looked at himself quite critically. win back your father's heart. 'Come in. Your footsteps sound regular today. 'But what can I do about it ?' he thought. or. had become a regular fixture of her annual 第 210 页 共 293 页 http://www. Apparently. failing that. but he assured his mother that he would not cause trouble at Prem Nivas any longer. where she sang regularly at Holi and had once sung at Dussehra. Let us hope that your heart is beating as regularly. he took it off and surveyed his prematurely balding temples before putting it on again. 481 'Shall I get your father's PA to arrange your ticket to Banaras ?' asked Mrs Mahesh Kapoor.en8848. come in. He ordered a servant to pack his things. with the Rajkumar and his friends. Though she had to admit to herself that he was good for her. she was very upset. He arrived at Saeeda Bai's house. embroidered cap covered his head. He was admitted. thinking ruefully that perhaps it was his baldness that Saeeda Bai did not like. too obsessively attached. he glanced at himself in the mirror. work hard. Prem Nivas. he supposed that he must have been equally so outside Saeeda Bai's gate. failing that.com. for her to handle easily. where he had a vague sense of having gone. or. If I need to.' After shaving and bathing he donned a crisp white kurta-pyjama and made his way a little shamefacedly towards Saeeda Bai's house. If he had been as drunk as his mother seemed to think he had been. or. Dagh Sahib. When Maan told her about his scene with his father.

' 'Why. but she was thinking hard. 'Why ?' persisted Saeeda Bai. disengaging herself. I am going to stay in Brahmpur . which had slipped down slightly. she did not want her young friend to remain in trouble with his father. putting her hands to her shocked ears. attempting to engage himself again. Saeeda Bai might have been pleased by Maan's ardour. He thinks that because he can strip a million landlords of their inheritance.' 'What is love . 'Toba. 'I know.com. 'Why should I be separated from you ? From the town where you live ?' He leaned towards her and began to embrace her. of course.this ill-natured thing that makes enemies even of friends ?' This was too much for Maan. 'Do sit still and listen. A sudden. Dagh Sahib.with friends. who was in no mood to get involved in abstract speculations. 'My father has delusions of grandeur. Equally importantly.' he added. She had to consider the question of her income. then she tugged her sari. 'Dagh Sahib.' she said. 'I know what you must do. back over her head.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . 'And your cook makes such delicious shami kababs. nowhere!' exclaimed Maan.' said Maan. to understand me.' 'Mmh. toba!' cried Saeeda Bai.en8848. Dagh Sahib!' she rebuked him.' A sudden thought struck him. 'Why. 'You want to be close to me.calendar. 'Because I love you. don't you ?' 'Yes. 'Why not here ?' he asked. Dagh Sahib ?' 'Why ?' asked Maan incredulously. horrible thought struck him : 'Do you want me to go as well ?' Saeeda Bai was silent. 第 211 页 共 293 页 http://www. he can equally easily order his son about.' said Saeeda Bai in a coquettish voice. 'Where do you plan to go ?' she asked him. Her kohlblackened eyes seemed to look into Maan's very soul. yes.

yes. then played a few notes on the harmonium and said: 'Your Urdu teacher. letting herself be convinced gradually. 'When is Rasheed leaving ?' 'Tomorrow. the language of the poetry I recite.com. Rasheed. 'I just feared that you might want to test our love by distance. is leaving for his village in a few days. to appreciate my art. 'That would cause me as much pain as you.' said Saeeda Bai at length.the language of her soul.' he said. he would send her letters written in the Urdu of an angel. He will be gone for a month. to resonate to my passion.en8848.' 第 212 页 共 293 页 http://www. enraptured. was giving him a cynical look.' she told him sadly. . but she did not know how she could bear being separated from him. and hung his head.write . And I feel that in order to understand me truly. biting her lower lip sadly.' 'Yes. you must learn my language. It was the only way out of the problem. 'You have made me see that there is no other way. he would sleep in the open.' whispered Maan. Even his father would be proud of him.that in a few minutes it was Maan who was consoling her rather than she him. Saeeda Bai was apparently so upset by her own solution to the problem . he assured her : even if he had nowhere to live in the village.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 .for a month. He frowned.' 'What?' cried Maan. who was in the room with them.it was the obvious solution. she murmured.' She was silent. 'But what I was thinking was quite different. etc. Maan noticed that the parakeet. I don't know how to arrange for an Arabic teacher for Tasneem or an 483 Urdu teacher for you in his absence. the ghazals I sing.Maan was instantly repentant. 'So you must go to the village with your Urdu teacher for a while . he would speak think . who felt that another glass of water had been flung in his face. the very thoughts I think.

with another sigh: 'Come at one o'clock in the morning. What woodcutter ?' he added.and. frowning. It will be our last night together in a in a month. Dagh Sahib. How can I ? Anyway. I will tell your friend the watchman to make the Shahenshah's entry a triumphal one.' 'Dagh Sahib. But what will happen to the birds and monkeys who sang or chattered in its branches ? Tell me that.com. His courage failed him. seeing Maan look crestfallen. 'I must.Maan went pale. if you are faithless to your own logic. Saeeda Bai sighed.' said Saeeda Bai in a practical tone.no doubt because of your skill as a calligrapher. 'It will not work this evening. But I can hear your father's impatient axe on the last of its trunks.en8848. Dagh Sahib. 484 'Then I won't go. of course. 'Of course. The snakes will be driven from its roots and the termites burned with its rotten wood. But the thought of seeing her tonight cheered him up instantly. especially one that has been rooted so long in the soil of this province. we haven't consulted Rasheed. how can I believe you will be faithful to me ?' 'Then I must spend this evening here. even if he knew she was merely sweetening a bitter pill. you must not make a scene or wake up the neighbourhood.' A month ? Even as he said the word.no doubt because of his skill as a woodcutter . Soon it will be Tom from the earth.' insisted Maan.I can't go .' cried Maan. He refused to accept it.' Saeeda Bai went on. thinking of her commitments.' 'Rasheed will be honoured to give you hospitality. his mind rebelled at the thought.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . I can't promise anything. 'But that only leaves tonight!' he cried.' 'I must see you tonight.' Then. 'I can't. 'If he tells you I am asleep. his heart sinking. 'No . He respects your father very much . 'It is very difficult to cut down a banyan tree.' It was Maan's turn to sigh : 第 213 页 共 293 页 http://www.I can't leave you.' Maan felt that she might be laughing at him. she added. This is how things stand with us today. he respects you very much .

everything worked out well.25 TASNEEM did not realize till Rasheed had gone how much she had enjoyed her Arabic lessons. were on board a narrow-gauge train that swung in a painfully slow and halting arc towards Rudhia District and Rasheed's home village. Rasheed had never once indicated that he was interested in her in any way other than as a teacher. And Saeeda Bai heaved a sigh of relief tinged only slightly with regret when morning came. A few hours later a glum Maan. Mahe'sh Kapoor. as it happened. 6. and opened no windows onto a larger world. she had greatly approved of his sense of principle. for he knew what Maan did not that the cloth business was doing pretty well without him. Everything else she did was related to the household.com. 485 Mrs Mahesh Kapoor (though she would miss him) was glad that he would be in the charge of a strict and sober teacher and away from 'that'. who had been afraid that Maan might attempt to defy him by staying in Brahmpur. with his insistence on the importance of grammar and his refusal to compromise with her tendency to take flight when faced with difficulties. All this admiration was silent. because he was making his own way in the world without support from his family. 486 I 第 214 页 共 293 页 http://www. even if they had instantly drawn back afterwards. She admired him.'If Mir so loudly goes on weeping. Their hands had never touched accidentally over a book. Abdur Rasheed agreed to house Maan in his village and to continue to teach him Urdu. And when he refused to answer her sister's summons because he was explaining a passage from the Quran to her. was not altogether displeased that he would not be going to Banaras. But her serious young teacher. Maan did at least receive the ecstatic sop of a last passionate night with Saeeda Bai.en8848. too. That this should not have happened over a span of weeks spoke of deliberateness on his part. fretting and exasperated at being so neatly pincered by his father and his beloved. together with Rasheed.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . had made her aware that she had within herself an ability for application that she had not known. How can his neighbour go on sleeping ?' But. who was conscious for the moment only of the pleasure of getting out of congested Brahmpur into the openness of the countryside. for in the ordinary innocent course of things it was bound to have occurred by chance.

The cage is always in her room.' said Tasneem quickly.' said Tasneem. I'm not as crippled as all that. 'I wasn't thinking of him. 'Your hands -' 'Oh.' 'But it must be bad. Whenever I see you practising.' said Ishaq. and the cause for it as well. 'I was thinking that I'll have nothing useful to do now except read novels and cut vegetables. Then she said: 'Apa has appropriated my parakeet.en8848. The first few months of life are very important in the education of a parakeet.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 .com.' said Ishaq Khan.' 'I can't. 'Why do you insist on that 揃 hai??' said Ishaq. tried to cheer her up. Ishaq Bhai ?' Tasneem replied.just get out of that tearful mood. you could teach. sensing her mood. I can see how painful it is 第 215 页 共 293 页 http://www. and Tasneem found herself feeling sad. 'that everything of mine becomes hers. 'Teach?' 'Teach Miya Mitthu how to speak. Ishaq Khan. attempting to sound bright. Tasneem was silent. far sadder than the loss of Arabic lessons would have accounted for.昮 l*'. 'Listen.' she added under her breath. Nothing useful to learn -' 'Well.' Tasneem brightened up for a second. 'I'm feeling sad.' said Ishaq Khan gallantly.' 'Poor Tasneem.' She sighed. a little listlessly. 'It seems.' 'Yes. you mustn't. Tasneem. Now he would be out of Brahmpur for a month. 'All right. He'll be back. seldom in mine. call me brother if you wish .' Til get it. 'Oh. trying not to sound anything but sympathetic. even if not learn.' said Tasneem.

com.' 'Still . Lifting a cage.performed very different functions. 'I will. If he told Saeeda Bai how painful it had become to accompany her. especially if the great Ustad himself had made it a point to express his displeasure.in the middle of a conversation . You should rest and use some balm.there's no harm in having it seen. He could turn to no one for help. Since his livelihood and that of the younger brothers whom he supported depended on his hands.who would certainly have heard about what had happened in the canteen and who would have been very unfavourably disposed towards him. Of late.' 'Why don't you show it to a doctor ?' 'It'll go away. 'Good.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . opening a door.' 'All right. especially in fast passages. stirring his tea. Sometimes it was difficult to concentrate on other matters.' 487 Sometimes when Ishaq accompanied Saeeda Bai these days it was all he could do not to cry out in pain.take Ishaq's left hand and look at it carefully .' 第 216 页 共 293 页 http://www.' Otherwise he would merely continue with the conversation.' 'What if it is ?' said Ishaq Khan. What was strange was that it now affected both his wrists.' Ishaq's father would sometimes .' said Ishaq with a smile. Ishaq Khan remembered his father saying to him. But the moment the pain let up he increased the regimen. he would say.en8848. and you cannot insult your art by offering less. 'Practise at least four hours every day. if the string-abraded grooves in the fingernails showed signs of recent wear. 'I have to play and I have to practise. every action reminded him of his hands.the right on the bow and the left on the strings . Ishaq Khan had been unable to practise for more than an hour or two a day. As for the transfer of his brother-in-law : Ishaq had not dared to try to get an interview with the Station Director . This trouble in his wrists had grown worse. because you've asked me to. would he be able to blame her if she looked for someone else? 'It is not sensible to practise so much. Clerks push their pens in offices for longer than that. despite the fact that his two hands . because of the sometimes tmbearaWe pain in the tendons of his wrists. not visibly but palpably disappointed. he was extremely anxious.from your face.

her deer-like eyes starting with tears. 'I'll speak to her later. He looked down again.' said Tasneem. stay here for a while. Tm not myself.' Her voice betrayed that she was. I cannot find other work in my present state. If pain has made me so selfish.murmured Tasneem. 'Yes. 'Everyone sympathizes.' He sighed. crying silently.' she said. everyone advises.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . Go . 'Please don't take what I said badly. then -' said Ishaq Khan with sudden and uncharacteristic sharpness. I will rest.' 'What do you want to talk about ?' said Tasneem. Talk to your sister and tell her what I can't. It was tear-stained. She will have to keep me on even if I cannot play for a while.' said Ishaq. I will have to rest and restore myself. He imagined Tasneem's startled face.en8848. no one helps.' continued Ishaq.com. 'Do you think I don't want to rest . and remained so even when she took it away. he said : 'Tasneem. Tasneem put her hand on his shoulder. after he had collected himself.do you think it's easier for me to practise -' 488 'But you must use proper medicine : it is very unwise not to. He became very still. then said : 'May I use that pen ?' 第 217 页 共 293 页 http://www. 'Go and get some for me. 'Should I go now ?' 'Yes. 'I don't want to talk.' Tasneem said. he thought. After a pause he looked up and saw her face. even if it means risking my work. as he had thought.' He shook his head from side to side.go -' He stopped dead. No. Til talk to Apa. Aloud. He did not want to open them. you will have to help me. and covered his eyes with his right hand.

Most people have an expression that they reserve exclusively for looking at themselves in the mirror. He looked at her while her lovely. Ishaq Khan thought for a minute while she watched him. When Tasneem entered. others arch their eyebrows. Nor cause you seizure or distress But win your trust through gentleness.which she used for her exercises . noticing with a kind of painful pleasure the flush that came to her face as they rested on the final couplet.he wrote a few lines with some effort. so too did these expressions. disciplined and coarse Without consulting both of you On any work we need to do. she was moving her head slowly from side to side with a dreamy air. 6. drawing to himself a large sheet of lined paper . It would have been difficult to guess that her thick black hair had just revealed a single white one. Saeeda Bai had a whole range of mirror faces. that cause me so much pain. and I'll make amends. liquid eyes moved from right to left. A silver paan container was resting among the vials and phials on her dressing table and Saeeda Bai was eating a 490 f couple of paans laced with the fragrant. Never again will I enforce My fiat.en8848. When Tasneem appeared in the mirror and their eyes met. and handed them to her wordlessly even before the ink was dry : 489 Dear hands. Then. the dots above the letters came out like little rhombuses. almost childishly so. When can I gain your use again ? When can we once again be friends ? Forgive me. the first thought that 第 218 页 共 293 页 http://www. semi-solid tobacco known as kimam. The letters it wrote were large.Tasneem handed him the wooden pen with its broad split bamboo nib that Rasheed made her use for her calligraphy. Some pout. she found her sitting in front of the mirror applying kajal to her eyelids.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . and that she was looking around for others.com. still others look superciliously down their noses at themselves.26 WHEN Tasneem entered her sister's bedroom. Just as her comments to her parakeet ran the gamut of emotions from passion to annoyance.

Saeeda. and started toying with the only lipstick on the dressing table. it's this. remembering with a smile how she had got Maan to leave. Then.' Saeeda Bai. 'Oh-hoh. you will never amount to anything even after having stayed here so long you have not acquired the slightest sense of etiquette or 第 219 页 共 293 页 http://www. can't I have a moment of peace ? Have you fed the parakeet ?' 491 'Yes. was silent.struck Saeeda Bai was that she. 'it's about Ishaq. She was about to apply a drop of perfume to her wrist when Bibbo came in with a great bustle. Her expression changed to one of melancholy. Send him here. Apa. as her lips had a natural redness which was enhanced by paan. After reading it through Saeeda Bai set it down. recalling the guest whom she had invited to the house in the evening. first of one eye. She never used lipstick. Begum Sahiba. you'll ask him to leave. looking at herself in the iris.' she said . 'What do you think.' said Bibbo impertinently. Tasneem. tell me. because of the paan. then of the other. 'and he's afraid that if he speaks to you. in a mild sort of way. Apa ?' said Tasneem. 'But what shall I tell the cook to feed you and your guest this evening ?' Saeeda Bai addressed Bibbo's reflection in the mirror sternly : 'Wretched girl.com.' said Tasneem. 'but what does it mean? He's not going on about his hands. and handed her sister Ishaq's poem.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 .' 'No. and she turned back to her own face in the mirror. and to whom she was. 'Say something. what is it now ?' said Saeeda Bai.' 'Has he been teasing you ?' said Saeeda Bai a little sharply. is he ?' 'They are giving him a lot of pain. was getting old and that in five years she would be forty.' said Tasneem.' said Tasneem nervously. sentimentally attached.somewhat indistinctly. you wretched girl. misinterpreting Tasneem's nervousness.' said Saeeda Bai. she smiled at herself in affectionate welcome. but it had been given to her a long time ago by the guest who would be coming this evening. no. 'Apa.en8848. 'Go out. 'I'll speak to him.' 'It's well expressed and badly written. 'What's the matter.

' said Tasneem. Saeeda Bai went on : 'Find out what is growing in the kitchen garden and come back after five minutes. But in her mind she was thinking about a permanent replacement.' She applied a drop of perfume.' Bibbo looked unconvincingly penitent. She knew she couldn't support Ishaq endlessly .' said Saeeda Bai.' said Tasneem happily.com. 'Don't thank me.' 'You're sure he hasn't been misbehaving ?' Tasneem shook her head. smiling. Bibbo had bounced back into the room again.' 'But I've found out what's ripe in the back garden. Bibbo? What is it ? I told you to come back after five minutes.or till some indefinite time when his hands decided to behave.' said Saeeda Bai crossly. Provisionally. Apa. 'Then let's leave it at that. no. at least.en8848.' said Bibbo 第 220 页 共 293 页 http://www. 'Yes.' When Bibbo had disappeared.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 .' 492. Saeeda Bai said to Tasneem : 'So he's sent you to speak to me. 'I suppose his hand works well enough to allow him to write ?' 'Yes. Now I'll have to find a sarangi player till your Ishaq Bhai is capable of wrestling with his sarangi again. 'I am used to taking all the world's troubles onto my own head.discrimination. 'I'll have to put him to some sort of work. Saeeda Bai looked at her impatiently and cried.' said Tasneem quickly.' said Tasneem.' said Saeeda Bai after a pause. no. 'Thank you. 'I came myself. I thought he needed help. 'you needn't do that. 'I thought you enjoyed your Arabic lessons. yes.' 'I needn't do that ?' said Saeeda Bai. and I also have to find someone to teach you Arabic -' 'Oh. turning around to face not Tasneem's image but Tasneem herself. 'Maybe he can write a ghazal or two for me to sing. has he ?' 'No.

it is all for the best. 493 By now. 'Get it on the black market. He was a doctor. would not have agreed with this assessment.' 'Well. Dagh Sahib will have reached his destination. but he did.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 .27 第 221 页 共 293 页 http://www. 'All right. 6. Her refusal.' Tasneem made a slight grimace.' Then she dismissed both Tasneem and Bibbo.com.' cried Bibbo. however. tell the cook to make kababs as usual shami kababs . and you don't appreciate it. The guest whom she was expecting that evening was an old friend. 'No one is forcing you.enthusiastically.' she said.' 'But there's so little sugar left from our ration. Dagh Sahib. She had not seen him for about three months now. and that was why she had invited him over this evening. she thought.and some vegetable of her choice . and this would cheer her up.' she said in an impatient voice. would not upset him unduly. good-looking and cultivated. 'Bilgrami Sahib is very fond of phirni. a general practitioner about ten years older than her. being equally inevitable. He did not really want to go. but was grateful that he was always there when she needed him. He was unmarried. Though at one stage he had been a client. Well. you don't have to eat it. and had proposed to her a number of times.and let her make mutton with karela as well. and her eyes fell on the framed picture of the woman looking out through an archway into a mysterious garden. 'let's have some phirni afterwards. She looked around the room. Begum Sahiba.' said Saeeda Bai. I work my heart out to keep you in comfort. She felt no passion for him. turning to Bibbo again. And oh yes.' said Saeeda Bai. then. all right. defeated. 'If you find the karela too bitter. he was now a friend. and continued with her toilette in peace.en8848. He was bound to propose to her again. which was not lost on Saeeda Bai. and there is even a pumpkin. but I did. 'What is there apart from ladies' fingers ? Has the karela begun ?' 'Yes. I did not really want to send him off.

When he came out. do not ruin my family. I dare not approach the Director. walking gravely along. It was a pity that the season for spinach was almost over. After that day.' 'I have followed you here from your house. And carrots.' 'That you may have made ?' 'That I have made. and I cannot get it. I need work to support myself and my younger brothers. I am in trouble. carrying a small string bag in his hand. 'I also have an apology to make. dingy. Excuse any mistake that I may have made for their sakes. I do not know what came over me. it was one of his favourite vegetables. it was after he had offered 494 his help to the young man in some footling matter that the whole exchange had occurred.' 第 222 页 共 293 页 http://www.' 'Ustad Sahib. I need your help.' 'I am not ruining you.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . A single glance at the young man was sufficient to remove the ease of his meditations and to remind him of the insults that he had had to face in the canteen. since that day I have had no work. His face grew dark with the memory. All India Radio has not called me even once to perform. Ishaq followed him at a distance. He moved from stall to stall to see if there was something that interested him.com. cabbages. As he recalled. they made the market look more cheerful. 'I have a request to make of you. 'I beg of you. and dear.' It was Ishaq Khan again. You knew my father and grandfather. It was with thoughts such as these that the maestro was occupied that morning when he heard a voice say.' The maestro shrugged his shoulders.' Ustad Majeed Khan turned to see Ishaq.en8848. Besides. and asked their price. He turned towards Tarbuz ka Bazaar.ISHAQ KHAN waited for Ustad Majeed Khan not far from his house. Even those few that were available were dry. past the road leading to the mosque. whatever you think of me. Ustad Sahib. Ustad Sahib. 'Yes?' The contempt in the great musician's voice was unmistakable. all were virtually gone till next winter. and my sister's husband has heard nothing about his transfer from Lucknow. cauliflowers. he picked up two or three tomatoes from the stall. then into the comparatively open area of the local vegetable market. Go in peace. It was good to see tomatoes still plentiful and at a tolerable price so late in the season. and had none of the flavour of their peak.' 'Please do not waste my time. respectfully : 'Adaab arz.

but -' 'I had heard. at least I was. You follow me from my house -' 'Only to get the chance to speak to you.' 'I am throwing myself on yours.' he said. But then things went wrong. and other thoughts took over.'But you dare approach me. he felt that he could lose nothing by completing the apology he had begun and that he had come to believe he should make. In any case.I have been wishing for a long time to apologize for what I know is not forgivable. bringing in other matters . what do you propose to do? You are very proud of your long hours of practice. who had been examining the vegetables. That morning. the reason why I made so bold as to sit at your table in the canteen was because I had heard your Todi just a little earlier. My advice to you is to practise less. but did not mention where. 'I had been sitting beneath the neem tree outside with those friends of mine. turned towards him slightly. 'if I may presume on your further indulgence . with your hands. 'And of late my hands have been giving me trouble. You might understand . and since his pride had already suffered through his desperation.com. that is not my doing. 'I have said nothing for or against you to the Station Director.' said Ishaq Khan desperately. 第 223 页 共 293 页 http://www. Ishaq Khan nodded miserably. Throw yourself on His mercy.' said the maestro dryly. I thought I would find some way of saying so to you. I showed them to a doctor.' 495 This had been Tasneem's advice as well. Ustad Sahib.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . If your work has fallen off. 'On another matter.' He could not say any more by way of apology without. What happened that morning I shall put down to an aberration in your brain. 'My employer has made it clear to me that I cannot be supported for my own sake much longer.en8848.as a fellow musician. There was no hope. One of them had a radio. We were entranced.such as the memory of his own father.' 'Your employer!' The great singer was about to walk on in disgust when he added: 'Go and thank God for that. he felt. which he felt that the Ustad had demeaned.' The Ustad winced.' The maestro.

Ustad Majeed Khan did not smile at the vendor's quips.' said Ishaq Khan. noticing the worn groove in the fingernail.since then my prices have gone up. He merely listened as if in a 496 dream to the Ustad's further conversation with the vegetable seller : 'How much are these ?' 'Two-and-a-half annas per pao. it was as if heaven had fallen into his hands. 'Beyond Subzipur you can get them for one-and-a-half annas. Sir.' Ishaq's face expressed complete disbelief.Ustad Majeed Khan nodded his head almost imperceptibly by way of acknowledgment.' 'Bhai Sahib. But since then I have never been able to listen to you.' replied the vegetable seller. we had a child last year .cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . not from the charity of a gurudwara. these prices of yours. 'So .' 'Very high.' The maestro frowned.' he said. looked up at the Ustad. 'I will be practising Todi this morning.or God's. 第 224 页 共 293 页 http://www. and for a second he also found himself wondering why he did not have a bag to carry his vegetables home in. 'I felt that the great Tansen himself would have listened rapt to that rendering of his raag. the financial desperation that had forced him to speak to Ustad Majeed Khan. these are not the prices of Subzipur but of Chowk.' The vegetable seller. his pride.' said Ustad Majeed Khan. He forgot his hands.all right -' And Ustad Majeed Khan threw him a couple of coins.you liked my Todi. but did not deign to ask Ishaq what he meant by that last remark.' 'Oh.en8848. He looked at the young man's hands.com. 'Two annas per pao that's it. 'Follow me after this.' 'All right . seated calmly on the ground on a bit of jute matting. 'Yours .' 'I have to earn my meals from you.

' Ustad Majeed Khan gave Ishaq the bag of vegetables to carry. that's what I'm doing. At his door.' 'Yes.' Suddenly. My pan should sink in the balance. the Ustad's attention was caught by a couple of cauliflowers which looked comparatively fresh. you rogue. 'Mind that you give me small ones. Sir?' 'Yes.' 'Weigh them properly. Sir. look -' The Ustad took them off the scales. the Ustad decided to get a few tindas.' Ishaq said : 'Let me carry them.' 'Soft. Sir. I have quoted a special price.you don't require oil to fry them. forgetful of his hands. I can keep putting tomatoes on the other.com. I am certain. 'Weigh these ones instead. for me? It's what you charge everyone.' 'And these tomatoes .' 497 'What do you mean.they are soft.' Ishaq smiled slightly. Special price -' 'Ah.but whatever you say.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 .' He rummaged around among the selection.After buying a bit of ginger and some chillies. Ustad Sahib. but these cauliflowers are special .' growled the Ustad. Ishaq walked along quietly. but Ustad Majeed Khan simply said to the local wit : 'Huh ! Give me this one. 'Don't you fear God ?' 'For you. not like the stunted outriders of the season. But when the vegetable seller named the price.en8848. yes. Ustad Majeed Khan said in a loud voice: 'There is someone with 第 225 页 共 293 页 http://www. 'They wouldn't have gone soft in a week . he was appalled. On the way home he did not say anything. 'If you keep putting weights on one pan.

en8848. and then increasingly 第 226 页 共 293 页 http://www. Ishaq remained standing. satisfied. Ishaq Khan was literally dumbstruck. in the tone known so well to his students at the Haridas College of Music.me. having washed his face and hands. He assumed that the maestro was going to continue his practice.' There was a sound of flustered female voices and then of people leaving the front room. and the room ceased to exist. and then. Ustad Majeed Khan told Ishaq to put the vegetables down and to wait for him. and Ustad Majeed Khan began to sense his way around the raag in a freer. at first brief. less rhythmic but more intense manner than Ishaq Khan had ever heard from him before. himself. The flavour of these few minutes was so startlingly different from those other great performances that Ishaq was enraptured.' And the Ustad sang a phrase. He told Ishaq to sit down. indicated the tanpura that was lying before him. he started to practise in Raag Todi. Ishaq Khan sang the phrase. There could not have been a greater contrast to Saeeda Bai's immaculate outer chamber. He did not know how long he had been sitting there when he heard Ustad Majeed Khan saying : 'Now. 'Now.com. and finally even the singer. and tuned the tanpura for a while. Ustad Majeed Khan came back in. after a while. but not quite. tuned perfectly to the open and hypnotic combination of tonic and dominant. The tanpura was in a corner. The Ustad continued to offer him phrases. Finally. Ishaq's hands did not cause him any pain as he turned it towards himself and began to strum the four wires. There was no tabla player. He always began his public performances not with a free alaap such as this but with a very slow composition in a long rhythmic cycle which allowed him a liberty that was almost. sing this after me.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . but looked about him. The maestro. He closed his eyes. comparable. sitting bolt upright. They entered. you strum it.' 498 He opened his eyes. 'What is taking you so long ?' asked the Ustad sternly. The room was full of cheap knick-knacks and tasteless furniture.

500 Part Seven V. As soon as she saw the letter she took in her breath sharply.someone to whom he could pass on his art. Now that she looked back she saw that she had been happy before she had met him: anxious about her exams perhaps.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . he may have found in Ishaq that disciple whom he had looked for now for years . The only sound in the room was the ticking of a cheap clock. Ishaq Khan nodded slowly. and could not think how he had obtained her address in Calcutta. who had a grounding in performance. She did not want to hear from him or about him. then turned his gaze towards Ishaq. 第 227 页 共 293 页 http://www. but at seven in the morning. as if conscious for the first time of its presence. whose sense of pitch and ornament was exceptional. 'Sarangi-wallahs are good at copying.com. She had not wanted him to write. Ustad Majeed Khan looked at it. even when he copied his own phrases.' So astonished was Ishaq that his hands stopped strumming the tanpura. worried about a few small differences she may have had with her mother or a friend. perhaps years. Lata knew Kabir's handwriting from the note that he had scribbled to her during the meeting of the Brahmpur Poetry Society. dismissing him..' said the Ustad thoughtfully. Breakfast was an erratic meal in this household. but not miserable as she had been during this so-called holiday so suddenly enforced by her mother. 7. but only just possibly.' said the Ustad. No one else had yet entered.en8848. The Ustad was silent for a while. Ishaq repeated them to the best of his ability. She had not expected him to write to her. at first with unmusical hesitancy but after a while entirely forgetting himself in the surge and ebb of the music. It struck him that possibly. someone who. 'But there is something in you that goes beyond that.months. which was the soul of music. unlike his own frog-voiced son. 499 'Come again tomorrow.long and complex. then stood up to leave. She even glanced around the dining room. and who had that additional element of indefinable expressivity.did he possess that or at least the germ of such originality ? Only time would tell . whose voice was not displeasing. Arun's servant had brought the mail in just before breakfast and laid it on the dining table. troubled about this constant talk of finding a suitable boy for her.1 LATA saw the envelope on the salver. But originality in composition . loved music with a passion. of time.

the servant-cumcook.' growled Arun from the head of the table.' 第 228 页 共 293 页 http://www. then decided on a scrambled egg.' he said. Now he opened some of his mail. Arun frowned. Meanwhile he took a piece of toast from the rack and buttered it. he ordered his own. Lata picked it up.' He reached out for a piece of toast. got out a large volume on Egyptian mythology that no one ever read. glanced through it and said: 'When is that damned fool going to bring me my bloody egg? I shall be late.en8848. and he filled in a few more at the breakfast table. He accepted the rebuke in silence. Varun had extracted butter from the butter-dish with his own knife to butter his toast.as she usually did . and inserted her envelope in it. The servant brought her a fried egg. He was wearing the Tom kurta-pyjama that he had obviously been sleeping in. came in with Arun's egg. Arun Bhai. 'Did you hear me?' 'Yes.There was a paper-knife on the salver. Lata wandered into the small drawing room that adjoined the dining room. When Hanif.com. humming to herself in Raag Todi. She put the knife down and picked the letter up. and was carrying his jacket in one hand and holding the Statesman in the other. He first asked for an omelette. almost guilty. 503 Arun began whistling 'Three Coins in a Fountain' to himself. Good morning. Arun entered. 'Good morning. greeted Lata affectionately. Then she returned to the dining room and sat down. He draped the jacket across the back of his chair. folded the newspaper to give him convenient access to the crossword. He was wearing a red-and-black striped tie over his starched white shirt. Her mother might come in at any moment. Lata stopped. 'You might think of using the butter-knife. then stood undecided. and . He sounded uncertain. Varun entered. Then he sat down. and riffled through the post. and buttered it.ask Lata whom the letter was from and what it said. He had already solved several clues of the crossword puzzle while in the bathroom.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 .

He had been undecided as to whether to have marmalade or honey. 'Not everyone enjoys seeing the butter encrusted with crumbs from your toast. instead of getting a job and contributing to expenses. looking around the table for Mrs Rupa Mehra. He was still somewhat weak. Arun told himself that he really had to have a frank talk with his younger brother in the next week or so about how the world did not owe one a living. very typical of her these days. as if he was not sure whether to be happy or despairing. all right. and they exchanged smiles. 第 229 页 共 293 页 http://www.'Then you would do well to acknowledge my remark with a word or at the very ieast a nod. 'Grandma will be coming in a moment. Varun's was rather a twisted smile. Varun had just got a Second in his mathematics B.' 'Yes. and it was dealt with promptly.' 'There is a purpose to table manners. Arun Bhai. since negotiating with the honey spoon was bound to bring reproof down 504 on his head.com. and waited.. As he spread the marmalade.' said Varun.' she added vaguely.A.' Varun grimaced. Varun had. Lata's was a halfsmile. and when he told his family the result. Meenakshi came in with Aparna. driven to impatience. 'She's probably reciting the Vedas. Lata glanced sympathetically in his direction.' said Meenakshi. but now decided on marmalade. and about what Daddy would have said had he been alive. it was with exactly this kind of smile. Arun put down his knife and fork. fallen ill.' 'All right. 'Where's Daadi?' asked Aparna.' said Varun meekly.en8848. 'All right. you know. Aparna precious. and started at loud sounds. It was the kind of smile that drove his elder brother mad and convinced him that Varun was a hopeless case.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . he looked across at Lata. Soon after the term was over. It was a feeble protest. looked at him. to Arun's annoyance.

' said Mrs Rupa Mehra. Then he laughed and added: 'But he certainly makes me aware when it's time to leave for the office. like it or not. but glanced across at Lata. It was never clear until the last moment whether Arun would take the newspaper with him to the office.' He kissed Aparna and rubbed his cheek against hers. perhaps. 505 Lata was more than usually quiet this morning. Daadi?' said Aparna.Mrs Rupa Mehra. who was gazing out of the window at the small garden. which Meenakshi in an unthinking moment had put around her neck. 'I should fire that bloody driver. the smile died on her lips. darling. to everyone's relief.com.' Carrying his jacket over one arm and his briefcase in the other. it was part of the general uncertainty of living with him. who recited a chapter or two from the Gita very early each morning. But when she noticed Aparna's golden chain. was in fact dressing. Ugly. but Aparna asked a few minutes later: 'Why are you looking so sad. darling. Basil Cox will be coming for dinner. he let the newspaper remain. not with you.' He swallowed a gulp of coffee and kissed Meenakshi.' 'Then with who?' 'With myself. Well.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . Today. She did not look at the medalmelter. strode out to the little sky-blue Austin outside. 'No. Bye. 'Bye. Daadi?' Mrs Rupa Mehra finished chewing a bite of fried tomatoes on toast and said: 'I'm not sad. 第 230 页 共 293 页 http://www.' said Arun. just as were his sudden switches from anger to affection to urbanity. rather. and Mrs Rupa Mehra told herself that she had to get the silly girl to snap out of this mood. Meenakshi was blithely unaware of anything being the matter. As she came in. everyone. Bye. tomorrow there was a party at the Chatterjis.en8848. Don't forget. Ma. Bye. 'I'll send the car back in half an hour. and Varun flinched. sweetheart.' 'Are you angry with me. Lata would have to goA car horn sounded loudly outside. and. he walked. she beamed around the table.

She was thankful that she had been able to take possession of what (though Mrs Rupa Mehra would have disputed this) belonged to her alone. Whenever she was accosted by beggars. and half a dozen bottles of Beck's beer from Shaw Brothers. and today Varun was disappointed when Lata did not. When she found that Lata hadn't in 第 231 页 共 293 页 http://www. Luts'). All Lata could think of was when and where. brilliantly green lawn with its white tracery of spider-lilies. Varun read bits of the news to her.Normally Varun and Lata would both have made a grab for it.' said Meenakshi whenever the shopkeeper suggested something that he thought Madam would appreciate). she thought of its possible contents with a mixture of longing and foreboding. But as she looked out of the window towards the small. though Mrs Rupa Mehra refused to enter either the cold store or the liquor shop. Lata wanted to visit a bookshop on Park Street. The atmosphere had lightened since Arun's departure. then called for the Toothless Crone to handle her. and vegetables.accompanied by Lata and Mrs Rupa Mehra . All the purchases went into a large basket which a ragged little boy carried on his head and finally took to the car. Meenakshi looked straight through them. which had just returned from Arun's office. Aparna now became the focus of attention.from Baboralley. I'll take two. Basil Cox. yes. Her mother fed her incompetently.com. and by the whimsical nature of some of her purchases ('Oh. Hanif was dispatched to Jagubazaar to get two chickens.en8848. a fish. and she listened with a careful pretence at comprehension and interest. her jam and Chivers Marmalade and Lyle's Golden Syrup and Anchor Butter and tea and coffee and cheese and clean sugar ('Not this dirty ration stuff) . Arun is bound to like that.went off to New Market in the car. some salami from a cold store in Free School Street ('The salami from Keventers is dreadfully bland. Lata tagged along everywhere. I've decided never to go there again'). a couple of loaves of bread from a shop in Middleton Row ('The bread one gets from the market is so awful.2 MEANWHILE there was work to be done in preparation for the evening's dinner. who would be coming over with his wife Patricia. Meenakshi bought her fortnightly stores . She was astonished by Meenakshi's extravagance. 506 I 7. while Meenakshi .cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . in this household of two-and-a-half bedrooms and no privacy to speak of. was Arun's department head at Bentsen &C Pryce.her white flour. and spent about fifteen minutes there while Meenakshi chafed impatiently. she would find time and space to read her letter.

Meenakshi turned towards her in exasperation.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 .' said Mrs Rupa Mehra.com. She had two cooks. 'You should not get into a temper for nothing. The impossibility of her position suddenly came home to her. This cook was a real incompetent.' she said. Meenakshi gazed at Lata in wonder. He was not sure about the exact proportions for the souffl? and as for the hilsa. but you must not shout at Aparna like that. one for Bengali and one for western food. she thought it very peculiar.fact bought anything.en8848. Meenakshi would have to instruct him about the kind of fire it needed to be smoked 507 on. 'That's a big help. who was getting late for the canasta which she played with her ladies' club .' said Lata with sudden inspiration. 'Ask your mother if you can borrow her Mugh cook. Meenakshi looked around the room in wild distress. Aparna too was sulking because of her mother's absence. It is not good for her. and immediately telephoned her mother. Aparna edged towards her grandmother's chair. was dispatched to Sunny Park within the 第 232 页 共 293 页 http://www. Mrs Rupa Mehra was content to browse timelessly. Luts!' she said. She now threatened to throw a tantrum. and the Mugh cook. no. 'What an Einstein you are. and had been known even to misfry an egg. This was too much for Meenakshi. Ma.once a week.' Hearing this. Meenakshi made an impatient sound. She got into a flap herself and shouted at Aparna and the Toothless Crone and the cook. Meenakshi found her cook in a flap. It was so important for his job too . The Bengali cook was told that he would have to prepare dinner in the Chatterji household that evening. Varun locked himself in his small room and covered his head with a pillow.and what could she do ? Cut out the smoked hilsa ? At least this idiot Hanif could handle the roast chicken. Arun would be terribly. and which (Basil Cox or no Basil Cox) she could not possibly miss. who came from Chittagong and excelled in European food. Meenakshi. you will not miss your canasta.' said Mrs Rupa Mehra unhelpfully. 'That I am not asking you to do. terribly angry with her if anything went wrong this evening. Upon their return home. 'What do you expect me to do ? Miss my canasta ?' 'No. But he was a temperamental fellow. Mrs Chatterji rallied to her daughter's aid.the Shady Ladies .

and she now did so. that the fish and chickens that had been bought were none too fresh. In her presence Varun stopped singing. did not want to jeopardize this dinner for the boss of her darling son. Meanwhile.508 half-hour.com. that her cook-cum-bearer had behaved insolently towards him. Meenakshi had gone off for her canasta lunch with the Shady Ladies and had almost forgotten the tribulations of existence. I am Mr Justice Chatterji's cook. and was on the verge of giving notice. could tolerate after its fifth repetition. but he continued to rewind the gramophone every few minutes and hum the song softly to 509 himself by way of accompaniment. I don't need to -' cried Meenakshi.?' 'No. and that he needed a certain kind of lemon extract for the souffl?which she had not had the foresight to provide. shuddering fastidiously and drawing back her red-polished fingernails as her cook pushed the chicken's feathers aside and offered its breast for her to assay. As he put away the spent needles one by one in the little compartment that fitted into the side of the machine. not even the sentimental Mrs Rupa Mehra. he reflected gloomily on his own fleeting life and personal uselessness.Memsahib . Varun had been singing the words to himself moodily and dreamily before Meenakshi returned.' 第 233 页 共 293 页 http://www. She returned in the middle of the afternoon to find a rebellion on her hands.en8848. a song that no one. and she went into the drawing room to play a game of patience. She was good at making peace between refractory servants. feel its breast . I trust you.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . and was about to go into the garden with it when her mother said : 'Where are you going ?' 'To sit in the garden. He was holding a squawking chicken out in front of him and saying: 'Feel. The gramophone was blaring and the chickens were cackling in alarm. no. Ma. Lata took the book on Egyptian mythology down from the shelf. Hanif for his part was glaring resentfully. Harmony was restored. Why should I work below this man ? Who is he to boss me around in my own kitchen ? He keeps saying. Mrs Rupa Mehra.this is a young and fresh chicken. Varun had put on the gramophone about half an hour earlier and was playing the same scratchy yS-rpm record again and again: the Hindi film song 'Two intoxicating eyes'. while not displeased at Meenakshi's discomfiture. The Mugh cook told her as snootily as he could that he was not accustomed to being farmed out in this manner. that he was not used to working in such a small kitchen. 揑 am Mr Justice Chatterji's cook.

your kiss was half-hearted. and no one cares for me. 'You have been ignoring me for days. I won't read it.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . Only when I'm burned on the pyre will you realize my worth. I'll talk to you.' 'Ma. 'Even when I told you your results.' said Lata. but I can't read with this music going on.' Til tell him to turn it off. You want to talk. and you don't care if I live or die. Lata.en8848. I have been ignoring you.here. 510 Normally Lata would have made some dutiful attempt 第 234 页 共 293 页 http://www.' Lata pointed out. darling. 'You have. and said: 'All right. please let me be. 'All right. sit with me. Ma. 'Read your silly book!' cried Mrs Rupa Mehra in a sudden temper. 'Lata.' said Mrs Rupa Mehra. Happy ?' 'What do you want to talk about. turn it off. I feel it .'But it's so hot.com. 'I don't want to talk. Everything goes wrong and I have to make peace.' 'I know. All this sun is bad for your complexion.' 'What's that you're reading ? Let me see the book.' Mrs Rupa Mehra pointed to the region of her heart.' said Mrs Rupa Mehra.' Lata replaced it on the shelf. Ma. I have not been ignoring you. Ma. you can't deny it. Varun. 'Ma.' said Lata. Lata took the book into the bedroom. I have slaved for you all my life. Now please let me read. 'I have to do everything in this house.' She had to repeat her request a few times before Varun heard what she was saying. darling?' asked Mrs Rupa Mehra sympathetically.' The tears started rolling down her cheeks and she placed a black nine on a red ten.

An intelligentlooking crow cawed from a banana tree. I don't disbelieve you. 'It will rain. unlike in Brahmpur where each leaf had looked dusty and each blade of grass parched. She had expected Kabir's letter to be effusive and apologetic. She pulled out a hairpin and opened the envelope.everything in it and I too .3 THE small green garden was empty. Everything was rainwashed and clean. It was not exactly that. The delicate spider-lilies were in bloom. I couldn't and I can't run off with you to some earthly paradise. I know that you would then have discovered twenty reasons why it was impossible to 第 235 页 共 293 页 http://www. Her name was followed immediately by the address . she took the book down from the shelf again. but how could you have expected me to ? Suppose I had agreed to your crazy plan.com.get washed away. and walked into the garden.to console her mother. it was not 'care of anybody. Lata sat down on the slatted green wooden bench in the shade of a tall flame-of-the-forest tree. The part-time mali had gone. You have no sense of the value of money. Why should I repeat that I love you ? I don't see why you should disbelieve me. 'and the book will get spoiled. Lata looked at the envelope with its firm handwriting and Brahmpur postmark.' thought Lata violently.' 'Good. Please tell me what the matter is.' said Mrs Rupa Mehra. 'I hope the book and S-W. The letter was only a page long. I don't want things to end in this way between us. After a while.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . I can't think about anything except you. but I am annoyed that I should have to say so. After the address and date it went : Dearest Lata. but she was so frustrated and * annoyed by her sudden emotional sleight-of-hand that she did nothing.en8848.' 7.

I knew you couldn't write to me even if you wanted to because you didn't have my address. Two days ago I hired a boat and went up the Ganges to the Barsaat Mahal. Under ordinary circumstances the pressure of her feelings might have caused her to shed a few unselfconscious tears. Yesterday he said. Anyway. you are so brilliant. congratulations on your exam results. She felt a great many emotions. But perhaps I should have agreed anyway. Perhaps you would have felt reassured because I would have proved how much I cared for you. For a long time I could not forget you though all possible efforts were made. Well. 'It's not your results.' I too believe it must be a girl or something. With all my love. you can think of me returning to the pavilion and crying every time I fail to make a century. and the place was sordid and sad. Yours. Kabir 5ii 7. I don't care for you so much that I'm willing to abdicate my intelligence. Well. so what is it. She did not at first re-read the letter. but they pulled her in conflicting directions. I felt a strong kinship with him even though my tears did not fall fast and furious into the frangrant waters. can see that there is something the matter with me. I was so much grieved that my mind was upset. Otherwise I'll know what to think. Perhaps whenever you're tempted to do so. You really owe me an apology. But. why don't you see things in perspective ? I love you. Her first sense was that she 第 236 页 共 293 页 http://www.en8848. And the next time I go to Mr Nowrojee's place I will have to read out some stricken verses of my own. and I do think ahead a bit. You must be very pleased . my darling Lata. though he is fairly absent-minded.but I am not very surprised. I'm not made that way. but there were a couple of remarks in the letter which made that impossible. like Nawab Khushwaqt. So please do write.5?carry it out.com. You must not spend your time sitting on benches and crying in future. now that you have my address why don't you write to me? I have been unhappy since you left and unable to concentrate on anything. My father.4 FOR a long while Lata sat in a kind of reverie. now you do. Well. Kabir ? I believe it must be a girl or something. Who knows who might want to rescue you. I don't even care for myself that much.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . Darling Lata.

Nor had he given her much . Having finished the letter. there had been a faint breeze in the bamboos. it had been warm. but they were not as fervent or untinged with irony as she had thought they would be. one area of uncertainty had been closed as a possible explanation for his downcast .en8848.including how well he had done in his exams.had been cheated. cheated out of something that she had expected. She had been in a trance. And how had he obtained her address? Surely not from Pran and Savita? From Malati perhaps ? But as far as she knew Kabir did not even know Malati.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 .or perhaps merely unsettled -mood. There were declarations of love. Lata got the sense that he was trying to jolly her along without making any commitment to her 513 beyond 'love'. to read a paragraph of the book on Egyptian mythology. and Lata longed for it. He had leaned his head back and burst out laughing at something. in another he treated her like a dunce. He did not want to take any responsiblity for her feelings. If anything it was she who according to him . Ma is getting anxious. a couple of yards away. that was clear. She read through the letter once again. even if he had merely passed. For her it had been a matter of life and death. She was startled by Varun's voice. There was no apology in the letter for the pain that he must have known he had caused her.or any . 'You'd better go in. hardly conscious of what she was doing. but that was not the only interpretation of his remark. She wanted to know everything about him . Despite his injunction to her that she should not sit crying on benches. Lata. And what was love ? Even more than their kisses. and Lata had above all wanted him to be serious. It might simply have meant that with the results out. Perhaps she had given Kabir no opportunity to explain himself at their last meeting. But the words formed no pattern in her mind.news of himself.com. a couple of mynas were quarrelling.should be the one to apologize. she had been entranced. he could have explained himself better. From his father's remark it was probable that he had not done badly.' 第 237 页 共 293 页 http://www. she remembered the morning when she had followed him to the cricket field and watched him practising in the nets. but now that he was writing to her. His shirt had been open at the collar. she began. tears gathered in her eyes. In one sentence he praised her intelligence. He had not addressed anything seriously.

Varun.and.5 WHEN Arun came back from work that day. cowed down though he was by Arun and his bullying sophistication. 'Just don't tell Ma. usually to have it brutally slashed off. He had had a productive day.' 7. Ma. was no longer running around nervously. Varun Bhai. did his brother have so little spine and initiative and why did he always dress in tattered kurta-pyjamas that looked as if they had been slept in? 'Turn off that bloody noise. 昷? well. he was in excellent spirits. Varun did turn off the gramophone. After kissing him on the cheek and giving ' him the benefit of her tinkly laugh. shifty self. more angrily than sadly.' said Lata.in tears. her domestic crisis resolved. Why.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . Arun thought that Lata looked a bit sulky.com. Varun. in fact. Meenakshi. She looked impatient. indeed. Til kill him. but then that was par for the course with Lata these days. and immediately understood who it was from. and he sensed that the evening was going to go off well.Lata controlled herself and nodded. noticing that she was or had been . but his resentment smouldered. It took time for another head to grow. Aparna was delighted to see her father and bestowed a few kisses on him too but was unable to convince him to do a jigsaw puzzle with her. 'There's nothing to kill. 'Have you been quarrelling with her?' Lata shook her head. 'What's the matter ?' he asked. Arun asked himself. occasionally raised his head. all 第 238 页 共 293 页 http://www. Having been subject to his brother's authority since boyhood. Ma. she went in to change.' said Varun with timorous ferocity. It would drive both of us crazy. so elegantly collected was she that Arun could never have guessed she had been in the least distraught. Varun was his usual scruffy. glancing down at the book. saw the letter. there was no accounting for her moods. but today it happened to have done so. he hated it .' he shouted as he entered the drawing room and received the full power of 'Two intoxicating eyes'. please. probably because her tea had not come on time.en8848.

using every possible hurtful reference to his pathetic childhood and past felonies. Basil Cox will be coming within an hour and I don't want him to think I run a third-class dharamshala. It isn't good for my nerves.authority.' said Arun. Pig! Pig! He must have looked his thoughts. in a fit of anti-imperialism and xenophobia.more a store-room than a bedroom.' said Varun with a scowl. But even while flinching before his well-built elder brother's attack. 'Please don't fight like this. affectionately. for he did get the slap he expected. Arun used to listen to Churchill's speeches on the radio during the War and murmur.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . bluntly. and had been soundly thrashed for it by the white headmaster.' Til change into cleaner ones. 'You will change into proper clothes. and Varun had duly flinched. scrawled 'Pig' on two Bibles at St George's School. He pointed in the direction of Varun's small bedroom . why are you looking so down in the mouth ?' Lata smiled. Arun Bhai. what's the matter.' 'I planned to anyway. Varun thought to himself: All he knows how to do is to suck up to the British and crawl in their tracks. Arun too had bawled him out after that incident. 'I'm fine. 'Now get out and change. a far greater man than he could ever aspire to be .' said Arun to himself.com. 'Ma. He had once.' 'Proper clothes!' mumbled Varun softly in a mocking tone. 'I think I'll go and get ready as 第 239 页 共 293 页 http://www.en8848. and expecting to be slapped by him at any moment. edging out of the door.' said Mrs Rupa Mehra. 'What did you say?' asked Arun slowly and threateningly.' said Arun. you keep out of this. 'Nothing. 'Good old Winnie!' Churchill loathed Indians 515 and made no secret of it. 'You will not.' she said. and Varun regarded Churchill with a visceral hatred. Then.' said Varun. he turned to Lata: 'So. 'Bloody fool. and spoke with contempt of Gandhi.' said Varun sullenly. as he had heard the English murmur. 'And change out of those crumpled pyjamas.

This isn't some dhotiwallah's establishment. He was wearing a clean kurta-pyjama.' 'I don't care what you bloody well think. Or do I have to keep imitating the whiteys even in my own house ? I don't think it's a good idea. 'Do you want to embarrass us all ?' Varun looked at him shiftily. not dresses.or -' 'Or else what. Then he exploded. 'Where is he now ?' demanded Arun of the three women. I'd much rather have dinner with my own friends anyway than bow and scrape before this box第 240 页 共 293 页 http://www. cheeking his brother and enjoying his rage. 'He hasn't come out. Varun noticed it reddening. Now you change into shirt and tie .cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . 'Can't I wear what I want to? Ma and Lata and Meenakshi Bhabhi wear saris.' 516 I I 'He should learn how to behave in a civilized household. he came out to find everyone except Varun dressed and ready. He had shaved in a rudimentary sort of way after his bath. Meenakshi emerged from the kitchen where she had been doing some last minute supervising. and though he was scared . 'I do wish you wouldn't shout at him. the whisky and sherry and Campari and so forth had been taken out of the cabinet.he was quite pleased as well. His face reddened. not Tom exactly.en8848. and Aparna had been put to bed. Proper clothes indeed!' Varun emerged a few minutes later.' said Mrs Rupa Mehra. About fifteen minutes before Basil Cox and his wife were due to arrive. the hors-d'oeuvre had been tasted and found to be fine. but with a button missing. He reckoned he looked presentable. 'You bloody idiot!' he roared. Arun Bhai?' said Varun. In my house you will do as I tell you. 'You won't give me dinner with your Colin Box? Actually. For a second Arun was so furious he could hardly speak. The table had been laid for seven with the best glassware and crockery and cutlery. Arun did not reckon so.' Arun went in to change too.well. the flower arrangement was perfect.com. 'What's embarrassing about Indian clothes ?' he asked.or . He must be in his room.

Meenakshi looked undecided. Meenakshi got up to do his bidding.' shouted Arun. Meenakshi reflected that the seating around the oval table looked a little more symmetrical now. is incapable of making a good impression. And let me tell you here and now that I won't put up with this sort of thing from you at all. that button is missing. Si? 'Darling. no matter what he wears or does. we must make a good impression. 7. The cigarettes were passed around . and he's perfectly capable of doing so. she lit up.com. And don't let me see you anywhere near this house for the rest of the evening. She asked for a sherry and sipped it with a distant look in her eyes. 'I don't want him putting Basil Cox's back up. though there would be an even greater imbalance between men and women.wallah and his box-walli. he smiled a brave.en8848. Ma. this is Calcutta -') with her chiming laugh. 'Go and have dinner with your Shamshu-drinking friends.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . He's Arun's boss. 'Now get out. so unbearabVy dose it's been these last few days. interspersing comments about the 晈 eathei ('so su\try.' Varun looked uncertainly towards his mother for support. you blithering fool.6 ALTHOUGH Arun was feeling more venomous than calm. please do what he says. But Varun had slipped out already. and Meenakshi made small talk. It was just the Coxes and the family. 'Did you hear me ?' asked Arun in a dangerous voice. and so did Arun and Basil Cox.' 'He.' said Arun. These foreigners don't understand. You look so much nicer in a shirt and trousers.' said Arun. Besides. Still. moralebuilding smile and even put his arm around his mother's shoulder. tell Hanif to remove one place. turning on Varun again.' Arun put the boot in.' 'Meenakshi. If you live in this house. 第 241 页 共 293 页 http://www. will you stop these waterworks ? See .you've upset everyone. Basil Cox and his wife arrived punctually. Now. you bloody well abide by its rules. it was not as if any other guests had been invited. for one. but then.

She was brought back with 第 242 页 共 293 页 http://www. Mrs Rupa Mehra had a nimbu pani. Patricia Cox talked to Meenakshi about her little pearshaped earrings. sound. As it was. rapt. 5i8 Hanif. books that had just appeared and were considered to be significant. dull sort of woman. offered around the tray of hors-d'oeuvre: bits of salami and cheese and asparagus on small squares of bread. indeed better read than most Englishmen of his acquaintance. a great contrast to the glamorous Meenakshi. engaging and knowledgeable. sooner or later Ma will have to get used to the facts of life. Lata had a small sherry. She did not smoke. idiots that they were. It was a full four-course meal: soup.' she commented. She drank quite rapidly however. 'Where did you get them made ?' Meenakshi told her and promised to take her to the shop. what could one do ? This Arun . In her bedroom earlier this evening. Dinner passed smoothly. shrewd. with this as with other matters. 'Very pretty. but they tended to speak only when spoken to. Meenakshi had paused for a second before putting them on .office guests . Basil Cox was charmed. The Reds were being pushed back. roast chicken. smoked hilsa. even (at times) diffident .but then she had said to herself: Well. If the guests had not so obviously been sahibs . and bespectacled.affable. but Cox had not imagined that he was so widely read. Patricia Cox was a small. She did not find Calcutta company interesting. She cast a glance in Mrs Rupa Mehra's direction.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . the Persian oil crisis.Basil Cox was in his late thirties.com.he might have allowed his disgruntlement with the turn of affairs in his kitchen to be more apparent. I can't always tread softly around her feelings.was a very different creature from the domestic tyrant and bully of half an hour ago. and if there was anything she disliked more than large parties it was small ones. and not a moment too soon. looking very smart in his starched white uniform. though of course the Americans. Arun had begun to hold forth with his usual savoir-faire and charm on various subjects: recent plays in London. genial. he was at his obliging best. to Arun and Basil Cox. Lata's mind was far away. in Arun's opinion. but noticed to her relief that she was listening. Arun was good at his work. would probably not make use of their tactical advantage. the Korean conflict.en8848. But then again. pink. lemon souffl? Basil Cox tried to bring Lata and Mrs Rupa Mehra into the conversation. and with a sort of desperation. where she felt trapped into compulsory sociability.

having made up his mind that Arun was a thorough gentleman.' said Basil Cox. and confirmed his boss's opinion. He and Basil Cox talked a little about work. you know. We throw puffed rice on it and crude brown sugar or jaggery . coffee and liqueur.' For the first time Patricia Cox looked less than cornpletely bored. 'Of course. 第 243 页 共 293 页 http://www. every girl in the family learns these things at an early age.' said Meenakshi. Suddenly the untuneful and slurred notes of 'Two intoxicating eyes' were followed by the fumbling of the key in the front door.' he said.' said Basil Cox. but Basil. it's interesting that you should think so too. the real secret. yes. 'Of course.en8848.' 'It's delicious.though she had only discovered this afternoon how it was done. But by the time the souffl?came around. she had lapsed into passivity.what we in this country call 揼 ur?-' (She rhymed it with 'fur'. and that too because the Mugh cook had insisted on the correct ingredients being supplied to him 'the real secret is in the fire. Varun. Arun stared contentedly and contemplatively into the grey and comforting haze around them. had returned to the fold. 'It's a wonderful old recipe that's been in our family for ages. 'It's smoked in a basket over a coal fire after it's been carefully de-boned. Arun would not have brought up the subject of the office. wanted his opinion on a colleague. After dinner. fortified by Shamshu. sighed a little. Arun brought out the cigars. I've rather begun to doubt his soundness. 'Between us. Arun passed his finger around the rim of his liqueur glass. and hilsa is absolute hell to de-bone.com. the cheap but 52. well. and strictly between us.0 effective Chinese spirits that he and his friends could just about afford. my dear. adding a reason or two of his own.' continued Meenakshi knowledgeably .) As she prattled on and on Lata looked at her wonderingly. 'Mmm.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 .519 a start when she heard Meenakshi describing how the hilsa was smoked.

'Well. 'Unusual too. not violent or anything.' he corrected himself.' said Arun. Black sheep and all that. He trembled a little when he saw Meenakshi. 'Not one word!' he hissed. I can still smell it. 'My father's early death and so on. but -' 'It looked as if he'd been on a binge. Is it a kind of whisky ? I'd like to try it. He was his charming self by the time he returned to the drawing room. greeted everyone. I'm sure you understand. 'I don't believe we've met before. and in an exceptional display of confidence. who was looking even more dazzlingly beautiful now that she was so horror-struck. looking with fury straight into Varun's puzzled eyes. But he was too late. his fair face beet-red with fury and embarrassment. He got up. The draw-string of his pyjamas hung out below his kurta.en8848. well.' 52. 'Sent to try us. The fumes of Shamshu filled the room. 'This is. Mr Box. He bowed. or I'll strangle you with my bare hands.Arun started as if at Banquo's ghost.will you excuse me a minute ?' He guided Varun with mildly suppressed violence towards the door. as I was saying. looking troubled.' continued Arun. fully intending to hustle Varun out of the house before he entered the drawing room. Perfectly all right. actually. Mrs Box. She drew back. he's a little . suddenly livening up.1 'Shamshu?' said Mrs Cox with the liveliest interest. Every family has one.' 'Very strong. He kissed Mrs Rupa Mehra.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . 'Hello.com.er. uncontrollable at times. er . Mr Box. trying the word out 第 244 页 共 293 页 http://www. 'Not one word. my brother Varun. I'm afraid. and fumbled with the button-hole that corresponded to the missing button.' said Patricia Cox. Has his quirks : insists on wearing those ridiculous clothes. then towards his room. Do you know what it is ?' 'I'm afraid it's what's known as Shamshu.er.' said Patricia. Mrs Box . He's a little. 'Oh. Varun. this is .' said Basil Cox. whatever it was. He greeted the guests.' He locked Varun's door from the outside. tilting a little.well.

'Usually. Do you know what that is.' Patricia confided. Heaven forbid. 'I don't believe I do. 'I believe it's made from rice. But by now Varun had started singing to himself inside his room.' said Arun. from a hole-in-thewall sort of place at eight annas a glass. thought Arun. whose net of friendship and acquaintance was very varied.' continued Patricia Cox. All her mousiness had disappeared. One never does. In fact Varun and his friends did get it from Chinatown. It ought to be available in Chinatown. 'I rather doubt it. This was one of the three or four grand parties that he took it upon himself to give at short notice during the course of the year.2. Smoked hilsa and Shamshu . you say.' said her husband. man. 'I haven't had so much fun since I was at RAD A. whatever it is.on her tongue three or four times. First.' said Arun. 'What a very interesting young man. (He was an absent-minded 52.en8848. There was a peculiar mixture of guests for two reasons. Basil?' She looked alive again. thought Basil Cox. 'It must be powerful stuff. who picked up friends here and there.) Secondly. I'm bored as a fish. And you can bring a bottle of Shamshu. darling?' Basil Cox looked very severely doubtful. because of Mr Justice Chatterji himself. 'It's a Chinese concoction of some kind. Patricia Cox decided to take this for assent. my dear. you know. What is he singing ? Why didn't he join us for dinner ? We must have all of you around sometime soon.' 'Would Shaw Brothers carry it ?' asked Patricia Cox. 'Shamshu. because any party of this kind was invariably treated by the whole Chatterji family as an 第 245 页 共 293 页 http://www.7 THE guests were about to arrive at Mr Justice Chatterji's house in Ballygunge.' Bored as a fish ? thought Arun. 'And he's your brother.com.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 .' Heaven forbid.how marvellous to learn two entirely different things at dinner. 7. Mustn't we.

At the moment he was talking to his two sisters and to Lata.com.' said (or. and a book of poetry which had won him a prize in England (and therefore adulation in Calcutta) he was sitting pretty in his father's house and doing nothing that counted as real work. 第 246 页 共 293 页 http://www. 'Vereeeee funneeeee. Mr Justice Chatterji was not an orderly man. and Tapan. He had eaten most of his dinners and had even passed a paper or two. Amit. some short fiction published here and there in literary magazines. sang) Kakoli. Amit wrote poetry. Instead.opportunity to invite all their own friends as well. the poet. but having got his degree. whose name implied the songbird that she was.en8848. Kuku. None of them worked. 52. who was only twelve or thirteen. and Tapan.' said Meenakshi in high excitement. Meenakshi played canasta. Dipankar sought the Meaning of Life. what should have been easy enough for him to complete: his studies for the Bar at Lincoln's Inn. 'I don't know. 'Fifty?' Amit looked amused. Mrs Chatterji invited some of hers. but had then lost interest in the law.' said Kakoli. but each had an occupation. I'd say one hundred and fifty. Jheel. who had returned for his school holidays. naming the three least sociable members of the family. had studied Jurisprudence at Oxford. was considered too young to tag on his own list of invitees to a party where there would be drinking.' 'I can't abide these large parties.' said Kakoli. on the strength of a couple of university prizes for poetry. Kakoli. and so did their children. rather. 'How many do we expect ?' asked Amit. Dipankar. only Tapan. Meenakshi (who was married to Arun Mehra). but he had produced five children in strict alternation of sex: Amit. to his father's exasperation. nor can I.' said Amit.3 'I suppose the guest-list consists entirely of those invited by Ma and Tapan and myself. 'No.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . Kakoli kept the telephone busy. had not completed. glancing at herself in the tall mirror in the hall. his father's old Inn. 'Fifty would just about cover half your friends. went to the prestigious boarding-school. and by far the youngest.

It runs off my back like duck's water.'You should go up to your room.' Kakoli recited : 'Amit Chatterji. 'He's doing a Biswas on you. He came from a family that was struggling 第 247 页 共 293 页 http://www.' 'He's very peculiar. Lata looked surprised. my father's old clerk. 'Oh. I don't mind. 'Jane Austen is the only woman in his life. Lata said to Amit : 'Why do you let them get away with this ?' 'You mean with their doggerel ?' said Amit. Or better still. 'I mean with teasing you. In fact the opposition to Meenakshi's sudden affair and marriage had been wider and deeper. so they say.' added Meenakshi. we'll send it up to you. but Kakoli said. That way you can avoid all your admirers. what a catch ! Is a highly suitable match.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 .' Meenakshi added : 'Why he has not married yet ? Always playing hard to get. Meenakshi's parents had not particularly cared for the fact that she had married outside the community. He still comes around a couple of times a week to help with this and that.' said Meenakshi.' 'But half the bhadralok in Calcutta want him as a match for their daughters.en8848. Amit.' said Kakoli. 揃 esh?decent in every way. nor even a Bengali.' She giggled. We'll tell you when dinner is served.' said Kakoli to Lata. and gives us advice on life.' 'A Biswas ?' 5M 'Biswas Babu. Arun Mehra was neither a Brahmo. 'They believe he has brains. nor of Brahmin stock.' KaktAi continued' 'Famous poet.' said Amit. 'and settle down on a sofa with Jane Austen.' said Lata. He advised Meenakshi against marrying your brother.com.

'In fact.financially.en8848. but you won't be admitted to the Bar Library. though they themselves had been more than affluent for generations.' 'I can still practise if I choose to. She looked at Lata's pale blue cotton sari with its fine chikan embroidery. 'What does Biswas Babu have to do with duck's water ?' asked Lata. who found Meenakshi's family amusing but confusing.com.' said Amit. we are all very fond of Biswas Babu. But again. this last fact did not matter very much to them.' Lata said : 'I'd better not have anything as dangerous as a sherry.' 'Ouch. you can help yourself.' 'But he won't be Amit's . 'Actually. 52-5 'Not you. Actually. please.' said Kakoli. They were only (with respect to this objection) concerned that their daughter might not be able to afford the comforts of life that she had grown up with. I don't think it's very kind of Amit not to explain family references to outsiders.' said Meenakshi. 'Or she shouldn't be. Lata . Biswas Babu is even more upset than our father that Amit has deserted the Bar. 'A university degree is enough in Calcutta. and said: 'Do you know.' 'Who cares ?' said Amit.' 'Ah.that's just one of his expressions. He was my grandfather's clerk originally.' said Amit. Kuku. he did not think that that would be fair. May I offer you a drink ? A sherry ?' Til have a sherry.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . 'Oh . I was offering Lata a drink.' Amit went to the bar with a smile and said: 'Do you think I might have two glasses of sherry ?' 第 248 页 共 293 页 http://www. and he is very fond of us.' said Kakoli.pink is what would really suit you. why not? A small sherry.to his heart-deep regret. they had not swamped their married daughter with gifts.oh.' 'She's not an outsider. To give the Chatterjis credit. Even though Mr Justice Chatterji did not have an instinctive rapport with his son-in-law. I'd be happy editing a small journal and writing a few good poems and a novel or two and passing gently into senility and posterity. Could I have some .

Amit Da. 5z6 Dipankar was fond of making remarks such as. I'll just see what he's up to.' Dipankar. A succession of strong women passed through his life and made most of his decisions for him. 'Shall I call him down ?' 'No. was a dreamer.' said Amit.' said Dipankar. all these decisions caused him endless agony. no.' 'Just coming. Tapan was the baby of the family.' said Amit.' said Tapan. and found him sitting on a prayer-mat at the harmonium. Dipankar treated every decision like a spiritual crisis. Dada. whether to enjoy the good life of Ballygunge or to take up Sri Aurobindo's path of renunciation. untunefully singing a song by Rabindranath Tagore. thus casting a mystical aura over the scrambled eggs. whose flaccid mystical verse he was (to Amit's disgust) at present deeply engrossed in. Whether to have one spoon of sugar in his tea or two. just coming. then began to float freely again. you help with the bar. Left to his own devices. 'It is all the Void. He had studied economics. whom everyone loved and fussed over.' Amit said in Bengali. Don't trouble yourself.'Dry. medium or sweet. please. 'Where's Dipankar?' he asked Tapan. This evening he was helping at the bar.' said Amit. Dipankar was indecisive by nature. and then I'll?I'll come down. I will. 'You had better come down soon.en8848. Please. 'The guests have begun to arrive. 'You can go down. and who was even allowed an occasional sip of sherry himself. Sir?' asked Tapan. their middle brother. whether to come down now or fifteen minutes later. His views moulded themselves to theirs while they lasted. 'You're doing a fine job. but spent most of his time reading about the poet and patriot Sri Aurobindo. 'I think he's in his room. before they became impatient with his vacillation ('Is she really the one for me ?') and moved on.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 .com. Amit knew that it would be best simply to bring him downstairs himself. Til just finish this song. Amit went up to Dipankar's room. 'One sweet and one dry.' 'I'll wait. patting his brother on the shoulder.' at breakfast.' 第 249 页 共 293 页 http://www.

After Dipankar had finished his song.' agreed Dipankar. and the standard mixture of postmen and electricians. 'You should have tied him up.Amit escorted him down the teak-balustraded marble stairs. 'I don't know. They found Cuddles in the bedroom which had been set aside for people to leave their bags and other apparatus in.' said Amit.' 'Yes.if at all . and Dipankar could not remember where . He had been with the Chatterji family for more than ten years.' he said.' said Dipankar vaguely. 'I think I have.en8848. who lived in the next house.8 'WHERE'S Cuddles?' asked Amit when they were halfway down.'It's no trouble. The only creature Cuddles treated with respect was Mr 527 Justice Chatterji's father's cat Pillow.' It was good that they did.he had put him. a number of lawyers (who had visited Mr Justice Chatterji's chambers for conferences during his years as a barrister). a middle-level executive. no doubt.' 'He might bite someone. His thoughts were with Sri Aurobindo. not greatly troubled by the thought. 'Just in case. He was crouched quietly near a bedside 第 250 页 共 293 页 http://www. Cuddles' most recent victim had been the man who had come to the door to take the decennial census. 'Oh. Dipankar frowned.' said Amit.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . Cuddles was not a hospitable dog. and who was so fierce that he was taken for walks on a leash. 'We'd better make sure. during which time he had bitten Biswas Babu. unembarrassed by its tunelessness . a doctor on a house call. several schoolchildren (friends who had come to play). Cuddles rarely growled to identify his position.com.for all pitches. stood equal before the Void . He might still be ranging the garden in order to savage any guests who wandered onto the verandah. 7.' said Amit.

put it down on the bed.' Amit reflected that Cuddles was the most psychotic lapdog he had known.or. He is a sort of lapdog. He too blamed his temperament on the constant stream of visitors to the house.' 'I can't do that. 'It'll be quite safe here. but today Vie was jittery. he flew intently and viciously through the air towards them until the sudden restraint of the leash jerked him back.' said Amit. Kakoli's friends of late had flooded the Chatterji mansion. accepted as one of them. but he had turned out to be a mutt with a large proportion of Tibetan terrier. with some white on his chest and on his paws.' said Dipankar. And the 第 251 页 共 293 页 http://www. watching them with shiny little black eyes. Have you met Neera ? Neera. like the sixth point of a regular hexagon. When they had bought him the Chatterjis had been told he was an Apso. so it might have been someone else.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . 'he's going to bite someone.' said Dipankar. Cuddles surveyed them closely without growling. Now.' 'Hmm. Naturally he gets nervous with all this coming and going in the house. Strictly speaking.en8848.' said Kakoli. was. In order to avoid trouble at the party. these are my berruthers Amit and Dipankar. 'Ah. after all. Kakoli herself entered the room with a friend. we were wondering what had happened to you. Dipankar could not recall having done this. Cuddles was Dipankar's dog. He and Amit approached Cuddles. there you are. ?Should I put a notice on the door : Beware of Dog?' asked Dipankar. 'I think we should move him out of this room. I think you should get him out of here.com. He was a small black dog. All the Chatterjis knew how to step back rapidly when instinct told them Cuddles was on the attack. as it happened. rather. 'He's a 5z8 living being too.' 'Take it from me. 'No. and when he judged that the moment was ripe. 'He hates being upstairs when everyone else is downstairs. he had been fastened by a leash to a bedpost. Dipankar Da. but he now in effect belonged to all of them . Lock him up in your room. Cuddles normally loved tVie 頰 rriiVy.table.' said Amit. 'He seems quite happy here. But perhaps the guests would not react so swiftly. but could not get into biting range. and thus his responsibility. Oh yes. He strained against it.

bathroom's through there.' Cuddles prepared for a lunge. 'Watch out for the dog - he's harmless but sometimes he has moods. We have moods, don't we, Cuddlu? Poor Cuddlu, left all alone in the bedroom. Darling Cuddles, what to do When the house is such a zoo!' sang Kakoli, then disappeared. 'We'd better take him upstairs,' said Amit. 'Come on.' Dipankar consented. Cuddles growled. They calmed him down and took him up. Then Dipankar played a few soothing chords on the harmonium to reassure him, and they returned downstairs. Many of the guests had arrived by now, and the party was in full swing. In the grand drawing room with its grand piano and grander chandelier milled scores of guests in full summer evening finery, the women fluttering and flattering and sizing each other up, the men engaging 52.9 themselves in more self-important chatter. British and Indian, Bengali and non-Bengali, old and middle-aged and young, saris shimmering and necklaces glimmering, crisp Shantipuri dhotis edged with a fine line of gold and handcreased to perfection, kurtas of raw off-white silk with gold buttons, chiffon saris of various pastel hues, white cotton saris with red borders, Dhakai saris with a white background and a pattern in the weave - or (still more elegant) a grey background with a white design, white dinner-jackets with black trousers and black bowties and black patent leather Derbys or Oxfords (each bearing a little reflected chandelier), long dresses of flowery-printed fine poplin chintz and finely polka-dotted white cotton organdy, even an off-the-shoulder silk dress or two in the lightest and most summery of silks : brilliant were the clothes, and glittering the people who filled them. Arun, who considered it too hot for a jacket, was wearing a stylish cummerbund instead - a maroon monochrome sash with a shimmering pattern through the weave - and a matching bow-tie. He was talking rather gravely to Jock Mackay, a cheerful bachelor in his mid-forties who was one of the directors of the managing agency of McKibbin & Ross. Meenakshi was dressed in a striking orange French chiffon sari and an electric blue backless choli tied on around her neck and waist with narrow cloth bands. Her midriff was gloriously exposed, around her long and fragrant neck was clasped a Jaipur enamel choker in blue and orange with matching bracelets on her arms, her already considerable height was enhanced by stiletto heels and a tall bun, large earrings dangled deliciously below her chin, the orange tika on her forehead was as huge as her eyes, and most striking and ornamental of all
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was her devastating smile. She advanced towards Amit, exuding a fragrance of Shocking Schiaparelli. But before Amit could greet her, he was accosted by a middle-aged, accusing woman with large, popping eyes whom he did not recognize. She said to him : 53?I * f 'I loved your last book but I can't say I understood it.' She waited for a response. 'Oh - well, thank you,' said Amit. 'Surely that's not all you're going to say?' said the woman, disappointed. 'I thought poets were more articulate. I'm an old friend of your mother's though we haven't met for many years,' she added, irrelevantly. 'We go back to Shantiniketan.' 'Ah, I see,' said Amit. Although he did not much care for this woman, he did not move away. He felt he ought to say something. 'Well, I'm not so much of a poet now. I'm writing a novel,' he said. 'But that's no excuse at all,' said the woman. Then she added : 'Tell me, what is it about ? Or is that a trade secret of the famous Amit Chatterji ?' 'No, no, not really,' said Amit, who hated to talk about his current work. 'It's about a moneylender at the time of the Bengal Famine. As you know, my mother's family comes from East Bengal -' 'How wonderful that you should want to write about your own country,' said the woman. 'Especially after winning all those prizes abroad. Tell me, are you in India a lot?' Amit noticed that both his sisters were standing near him now and listening in.

'Oh yes, well, now that I've returned I am here most of the time. I'm, well, in and out -'
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'In and out,' repeated the woman wonderingly. 'Back and forth,' said Meenakshi helpfully. 'Off and on,' said Kakoli, who was incapable of restraint. The woman frowned. 'To and fro,' said Meenakshi. 'Here and there,' said Kakoli. She and Meenakshi started giggling. Then they waved to someone at the far side of the huge room, and instantly disappeared. Amit smiled apologetically. But the woman was looking 531 at him angrily. Were the young Chatterjis trying to make fun of her ? She said to Amit: 'I am quite sick of reading about you.' Amit said mildly: 'Mmm. Yes.' 'And of hearing about you.' 'If I weren't me,' said Amit, 'I would be pretty sick of hearing about myself.'

The woman frowned. Then, recovering, she said: 'I think my drink's finished.' She noticed her husband hovering nearby, and handed him her empty glass, which was stained with crimson lipstick around the rim. 'But tell me, how do you write ?' 'Do you mean -' began Amit. 'I mean, is it inspiration ? Or is it hard work ?' 'Well,' said Amit, 'without inspiration one can't -' 'I knew, I just knew it was inspiration. But without being married, how did you write that poem about the young bride ?'
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She sounded disapproving. Amit looked thoughtful, and said : 'I just -' 'And tell me,' continued the woman, 'does it take you long to think of a book ? I'm dying to read your new book.' 'So am I,' said Amit. 'I have some good ideas for books,' said the woman. 'When I was in Shantiniketan, the influence of Gurudeb on me was very deep ?you know - our own Rabindranath ' Amit said, 'Ah.' 'It could not take you long, I know ?but the writing itself must be so difficult. I could never be a writer. I don't have the gift. It is a gift from God.' 'Yes, it seems to come -' 'I once wrote poetry,' said the woman. 'In English, like you. Though I have an aunt who writes Bengali poetry. She was a true disciple of Robi Babu. Does your poetry rhyme ?' 'Yes.' 'Mine didn't. It was modern. 1 was young, in Daqeeling. 531 I wrote about nature, not about love. I hadn't met Mihir then. My husband, you know. Later I typed them. I showed them to Mihir. Once I spent a night in a hospital bitten by mosquitoes. And a poem came out suddenly. But he said, 揑 t doesn't rhyme.?' She looked disapprovingly at her husband, who was hovering around like a cupbearer with her refilled glass. 'Your husband said that ?' said Amit. 'Yes. Then I never had the urge again. I don't know why.' 'You've killed a poet,' said Amit to her husband, who seemed a good enough fellow.
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'Come,' he continued to Lata, who had been listening to the last part of the conversation, Til introduce you to a few people, as I promised. Excuse me for a minute.' Amit had made no such promise, but it enabled him to get away. I 7.9 'WELL, whom do you want to meet ?' said Amit to Lata. 'No one,' said Lata. 'No one ?' asked Amit. He looked amused. 'Anyone. How about that woman there with the redand-white cotton sari ?' 'The one with the short grey hair - who looks as if she's laying down the law to Dipankar and my grandfather ?' 'Yes.' 'That's lia Chattopadhyay. Dr lia Chattopadhyay. She's related to us. She has strong and immediate opinions. You'll like her.' Though Lata was unsure about the value of strong and immediate opinions, she liked the look of the woman. Dr lia Chattopadhyay was shaking her finger at Dipankar and saying something to him with great and apparently affectionate vigour. Her sari was rather crushed. 'May we interrupt?' asked Amit. 533 'Of course you may, Amit, don't be stupid,' said Dr lia Chattopadhyay. 'This is Lata, Arun's sister.' 'Good,' said Dr lia Chattopadhyay, appraising her in a second. 'I'm sure she's nicer than her bumptious brother. I was telling Dipankar that economics is a pointless subject. He would have done far better to study mathematics. Don't you agree ?' 'Of course,' said Amit.
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Do you know. even though I wasn't forty then . 'Yes. let me say I knew the family.' 'lia Kaki never pays any attention to anyone.' 'Of course. such a. so I decided to adopt your philosophy immediately. My talk with you made all the difference. a name like that would have to be.er-' Amit waited while the old man searched for the right word.' said Amit. Dr lia Chattopadhyay said to Lata: 'I never pay any attention to Amit.com.well. I too used to make myself miserable bothering about other people's opinions. 'No. Your country needs you .cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . 'Yes. I had named him that because I was a friend of Subhas Bose . Then you decided to be concerned about what you thought of other people instead. 'Yes. And do you know why ? It's because of your grandfather. 'I remember some things but not other things these days. I tried to recall it. 'Many years ago you told me that until you were forty you were very concerned about what people thought of you.?said Amit. 534 T 'Biplob. But I'm very glad my remark made such a. in my position as a judge.' 'Because of me ?' asked the old man. ?Of course. then helped him out. indeed. but it didn't come to me. whether you remember it or not.and I don't say that lightly. Do you really not remember that remark of yours? I was trying to decide whether to give up my career. of course.or even thirty. well.' said Amit.'Now that you're back in India you must stay here permanently. surprised. and it did come back to me eventually.' said old Mr Chatterji.en8848. Amit. he always agrees with me. the other day I forgot the name of my last cat but one.' 'Well. 第 257 页 共 293 页 http://www.' 'Did \ say that? said old Mr Qnatterji. and was under a lot of pressure from my husband's family to do so.' said Dr lia Chattopadhyay. profound impression on you.

Of course.' said old Mr Chatterji. Remarks like that rejuvenate me.well. dear lia. 揗 adam. mm. and young people like you' .'must carry things forward. I was . and I must fall back. Amit. despite his mystical and religious tendencies. It's a very stupid book.' 'Oh.' 'What on earth have you been telling her ?' said Dr lia Chattopadhyay to Amit. a very serious young man. 搃 ronic?will do. 'Anyway. Do you know. in my day we were content with regular suits. those were different times.' said Dr lia Chattopadhyay. But where has he got to?' Amit scanned the room cursorily. 第 258 页 共 293 页 http://www. I didn't really get the chance to introduce you properly. 'My own daughter is twenty-five now. and noticed Dipankar standing with Kakoli and her babble-rabble. I can't even draw a map of India now.'Ironic ?' 'No.en8848. so you teach English!' said Lata. 'I thought you were a doctor . You were telling Dipankar so forcefully that he should have dropped economics that I didn't dare to interrupt.com. was fond of even foolish young women.I mean.' 'For me.he gesticulated towards Amit and Lata . far be it for me. things must move ahead. surprised. my students don't treat me like a girl.' 'What book was that ?' asked Lata. But I'm an old man.' said Dr lia Chattopadhyay. a medical doctor. 535 'Nothing. to suggest that -?I was quite charmed. Dipankar. 'It was a book about Donne.' 'I'm hardly a girl. Now girls like lia. And so he should have. The other day I was discussing a chapter in one of my old books with a junior colleague of mine. I wasn't looking for that word. It seems so unimaginable. mm. And the law too is changing every day. Well. One keeps reading about writ petitions being brought up before the High Courts. Dr lia Chattopadhyay made an impatient sound. and he said. you will always be a girl.' 'So I was.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . not only as your junior but also as one who is appreciative of the situation of the book in the context of its time and the fact that you have not many years remaining. 'Metaphysical Causality.

looking as if they'd just got out of bed. I'm alive. at least it would have meant an end to my suffering.' 'Well.' 'Oh. We had to go and listen to one of those ghazal singers. run!? 536 v-v? 'It's a good thing you didn't. 'arguing with him only upsets me. Saeeda something.' said Amit. dreadful. said: 'Brahmpur.' 'Oh. the pyjama. and I'd heard so much about Brahmpur and the Barsaat Mahal and so on that I stayed on for a couple of extra days.it was like staring into the sun. It made me almost ill. I'll never forget it ! One of those soulful women. I once was no. you'd have been strangled. lia Kaki.com. it's too cruel.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . 'Brahmpur ! I had to go there for a day about ten years ago to attend some conference or other in the English Department. All that courtly culture with its Yes Huzoor and No Huzoor and nothing robust about it at all. The next evening I had to undergo some more of your Brahmpuri culture. if he were a true Bengali. 揧 es. I won't say it. lia Kaki.' 'Well. and you're a nice girl. do go on. needing no second bidding. 'An impossible place. no. still a little shaken by Dr lia Chattopadhyay's emphatic energy. Kathak ! When I saw those fat women twirling around like tops. Brahmpur!' said Dr lia Chattopadhyay.'Shall I deliver him back to you ?' asked Amit.' said Dr lia Chattopadhyay. Wild horses wouldn't drag me there again ?and all those brainless men in that silly northern dress.or agony groaning 搘 ah! wah!?to the most abjectly self-pitying insipid verse . 'Oh.en8848. I'll have two florets of rice. Dreadful.' said Dr lia Chattopadhyay. rolling about in ecstasy . I wanted to say to them. 'I adore cruelty. and Y in sui c Lala can lake aiiyi'ifmg y va 'rurvt tu Tay.and so would you all.?I just couldn't stand it. well. Well. whom you couldn't see for her jewellery .or so it 第 259 页 共 293 页 http://www. Brahmpur. instead of continuing to cater to the feeble tongues and brains of the British Where are you studying ?' Lata. and one drop of daal ?All that subtlety and etiquette and bowing and scraping and ghazals and kathak. 揜 un! Run! don't dance. he'd change his name back to Chattopadhyay . no. it's like battling a blancmange ?all his mushy ideas about the spiritual roots of India and the genius of Bengal. 揌 ow are you ?? 揙 h.

'What utter nonsense. 'You're getting to be as fluffy as Dipankar. shaking her grey locks emphatically. and finally it all speeds up. On the way. Lata. stepped swiftly in to draw Dr lia Chattopadhyay's fire. 'Ah. trying to work out when and at which Sarkars' they might have met. I must get 537 some food at once. so do I. he knows nothing at all about literature.seemed to me when my friends translated it. gossiping group. 'He's just a writer. and came up to Amit. without waiting for Lata to finish her sentence. a pretty young woman detached herself from Kakoli's giggling. 'We had a long conversation. I do like classical music.en8848. Amit offered to bring some food on a plate to his grandfather. then another to discover its possibilities. Nonsense always makes me hungry. You know.or at least the kind of novel I'm attempting to write.' began Lata tentatively.' Dr lia Chattopadhyay was looking at him in astonishment. 'We met at the SarkarsV Amit. At least the family serves dinner at a sensible hour.com. and it's only gradually that the phrases begin to form and the tabla joins in with the beat ?and then the more brilliant improvisations and diversions begin. frowned and smiled simultaneously. 'So do I. she made for the buffet table. 'first you take one note and explore it for a while. for instance ' Amit. 'Ustad Majeed Khan's performances of raags like Darbari.' she said to Amit. He sat down in a comfortable armchair. then perhaps you get to the dominant.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . waiting for Dr lia Chattopadhyay to pronounce that she was completely misguided. 'Don't you remember me?' she asked. ?Do you like that sort of music ?' 'Well.' 第 260 页 共 293 页 http://www. 'I've always felt that the performance of a raag resembles a novel .' continued the author of Metaphysical Causality. and Amit and Lata went towards the buffet. Don't pay any attention to him. and the excitement increases to a climax.' he continued. The girl looked at him reproachfully. extemporizing as Vie went along. 揟 wo florets of rice?indeed!' And. and the old man acquiesced.' she said. and pause for a bit. with the main theme returning from time to time.' he said.

She had had the Coxes invited this evening as well because she thought it might be good for Arun. The girl persisted : 'Don't you remember ?' Amit suddenly became voluble. Have a plate.' said Meenakshi. could not help smiling. that's certainly true. Amit frowned. said : 'Your responsibilities don't end with having written your books. 'But she's a drab little thing.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . '. 'I am so forgetful -' he said. describing the events in the kitchen yesterday afternoon with the Mugh cook and in the drawing room yesterday evening with the Coxes. 'I know just what you mean.' said her father. Lata.' 'She didn't look all that drab when she introduced herself. 第 261 页 共 293 页 http://www.' she said. She was glad she had come to the party after all. who could tell that he was feeling bad for having made the girl feel bad. Meenakshi (who was fond of Lata and normally would have escorted her around) was talking to her parents during a brief respite in their hostly duties. Lata. it seems.'About Bankim Babu's attitude towards the British.en8848. he tried to make sure that Lata at least was not left stranded during the evening. Nothing I've ever done seems to have happened?' The girl nodded. Here. though she felt sorry for both Amit and the girl.' he added quickly. 'Oh yes. 'that I sometimes wonder if I ever existed.' 'What?' said Amit.' Amit thought : Oh God ! Aloud he said : 'Yes ?yes ' Lata. Varun (who might otherwise have kept her company) had not come to the party.' 538 7.com.10 ALTHOUGH Amit was not too conscientious about his general duties as a host. he preferred his Shamshu friends.and forgettable. oh yes. 'Her clothes look as if they've been bought off the hook. But she soon wandered away a little sadly. as if noticing her for the first time. and how it affected the form as opposed to the content of his writing.

under the light of the chandelier. 'Then it was the boy with the deformed hand and the strange sense of humour. the-' 'The commie.' replied Meenakshi in English. she said. I suppose that's right. who noticed important things first. Her gold-brown hair was short and. 'Wonderfully well. 'We?' said Mr Justice Chatterji. what was his name ?' 539 'Tapan.' said Mr Justice Chatterji. reverting for a moment to Bengali.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 .Meenakshi looked around the room casually and started slightly. you know.' 'Your father doesn't take things seriously enough. curiously radiant. First it was that boy at Calcutta University.' This brought an anxious frown to Mrs Chatterji's face. 'I'm so much in love. 'Why hasn't Kakoli told me ?' 'She's quite secretive these days. 'I hope things are well with you. Meenakshi's expression was not ecstatic.en8848. it's that German fellow there.' said her mother.' said her mother.' said Meenakshi. Had he had time to snatch a bite to eat ? 'And now ?' asked Meenakshi. 'We're so worried about Kakoli. Patricia Cox was wearing a beautiful green silk dress with a pearl necklace.' 'Yes. I may as well tell you.' 'He's very good-looking. Mago. 'On the contrary.' said Mrs Chatterji. she's very open. Well. the. She must tell him to go to bed soon.com. This was not the mousy Patricia Cox of yesterday. what an unfortunate coincidence. Meenakshi. Poor baby. looking over at the corner where Kakoli and her friends were nattering and chattering away. 'Now. 第 262 页 共 293 页 http://www. 'it's a foreigner. 'Well.' Mrs Chatterji glanced at the bar where her own Tapan was still on duty.' said Mr Justice Chatterji benevolently.

' 'She says he has a lovely baritone voice. He even pretends to like Rabindrasangeet.' said Mr Justice Chatterji. and it makes 540 ^R% her swoon.' 癇 aDa. And if she marries him she'll leave India and we'll never see her again.?saia Meenakshi. we may even hear an impromptu recital tonight. 'Hans. So why worry? Look at Arun's mother there. it's too upsetting.' said Mr Justice Chatterji to his wife.en8848. 'how do you know that there is any romantic interest between them ?' 'He keeps inviting her to all these diplomatic functions. 'Kakoli too has suddenly evinced an interest in playing the piano parts of Schubert songs.'It's the same thing. 'Incidentally. it'll break her heart. If he's not serious. she never worries about anything. s'ne' s t'ne biggest worrier of all. 'What's his name ?' asked Meenakshi. Really. 'you worried about the commie and that came to nothing. he is liable to seize your hand and kiss 第 263 页 共 293 页 http://www. 'Anyway. if you introduce yourself as Mrs Mehra rather than as Miss Chatterji. Meenakshi.' said Mrs Chatterji. 'We hear about so many friends and special friends that we never really know who the real one is.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . dear.' said her father. If we're lucky.' said Mrs Chatterji.' 'Well.no matter how trivial. and that came to nothing. 'He's a Second Secretary at the German Consulate General. If indeed there is one at all.' 'Hans Sieber.' continued Meenakshi. and about the boy with the hand. It's too much.com.' said Mrs Chatterji. She will completely ruin her reputation. 'Just Hans ?' 'Hans something. you're not being quite fair. ? 搕 hat's simp'iy not true.' 'Darling.' said her mother. She worries about everything .' 'Is that so ?' said her father with interest. she's always smiling.

Baba ?' Meenakshi fixed her huge eyes on her father. She looked across at Hans. she considers him a sort of pallid Ravana come to spirit her daughter away to distant wilds. I noticed him open his mouth slightly when he was receiving his handshake.' Mrs Chatterji said: 'I wish you could dissuade your sister from acting rashly.' 第 264 页 共 293 页 http://www. I think his family was originally Austrian. 'I think he wanted to be reassuring. off the bench.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . Then. but Mr Justice Chatterji.' 'Yes.' said Meenakshi with unconcern. why not ?' said her father. relaxed considerably the logical rigour he was renowned for. who was gazing adoringly at Kakoli surrounded by her circle of jabberers. 'Why did he do that ?' asked Meenakshi.com. she repeated : 'He's very good-looking.' 'What did he do. poor Arun. Even lia was charmed.en8848. What's wrong with him? Aren't we Brahmos supposed to be very open541 minded ? Why shouldn't we marry Kuku off to a foreigner ? It would be rather chic. Tall too.' said her father. 'He nearly crushed it to pulp. I should never have let her learn that brutal language from that awful Miss Hebel. intrigued. But that's nothing to what he did with mine.' The analogy was not apt. But it didn't work with your mother. 'Really. 'So you think he might kiss my hand ?' 'Not might. to her mother's considerable distress. 'His limbs appear to be intact. At any rate.' 'Oh. will. Courtesy is something of a disease there.it.' Her father opened his right hand and looked at it for a few seconds. 'And your husband was similarly reassured a few minutes later.' 'Really ?' breathed Meenakshi. laughing in her tinkling way.

'Yes.' continued Mrs Chatterji. It's nine in Calcutta.why we still have them in Calcutta when everyone else in India has got rid of them I really don't know . Is that justice? Twelve good men and true. well. And democracy is half our trouble. unreasonably wrong and so on. we live in democratic times. well. I don't see how he can possibly have the right to overturn the verdict of a jury. 'Hello. 'It might turn up in my court on appeal. that was quite different.the weight of the evidence.com. we're used to Arun now.' she said.' The conversation was interrupted by Mr Kohli. and was trying to avoid bumping into his reproving wife on his way to the bar.Meenakshi said: 'I don't think anything we say to one another has much effect. And that's why we have all these disorders and 1 all this bloodshed.?' 'Perverse. His small mouth was half open.en8848. and they bring in these impossible verdicts.' Mrs Chatterji had no such compunctions.so undemocratic somehow.' said Mrs Chatterji. however. 'It really is shocking. unreasonable. a very round teacher of physics who was fond of his drink. does he have a right to do that? It is so . don't they say? How dare he set himself up above them ?' 'Nine. and then we have jury trials .and someone bribes or intimidates the jury. 'And besides. 'and. If it weren't for courageous 第 265 页 共 293 页 http://www. As for their goodness and truth -' 'Yes. I can't comment on it. I haven't been following it closely either.' he said. And really. 'Perverse. All the newspapers had carried long reports about the progress of the case and everyone had an opinion about it.' recited the bald-headed Mr Kohli with a relish he usually reserved for his whisky. well. dear. like it or not. well. my dear. as you know. though everyone else I know appears to have been. 'What do you think of the verdict in the Bandel Road case ?' 'Ah.' she continued unconvincingly. manifestly wrong and against 542.isn't that what he said. Didn't you want Kuku to dissuade me from marrying Arun a few years ago ?' 'Oh.' said Mr Justice Chatterji. 'We're all one big happy family now. a little like that of a meditative fish. judge.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 .' interjected Mr Justice Chatterji. And to call the verdict perverse . 'I can't see how a mere magistrate has the right -' 'A Sessions Judge.

' 'I can't remember. 'I miss our breakfast parliaments. 'Can you ? Wasn't it something to do with Biswas Babu ?' 'It was something to do with Cuddles.' He looked quickly around to make sure the coast was clear. said. 'Was it? I'm not sure it was. where would we be? Don't you agree. He should eat first. 'But it's so difficult to get away in the morning.en8848. your cook really saved my life yesterday. 'Yes. you must come for breakfast one day soon. He was a college student.' said Meenakshi.com. Arun is very particular about things being just so. 'I don't know. dear?' Mrs Chatterji sounded indignant.judges who set these verdicts aside.' Mr Kohli. I thought it was . 'Another mushroom ?' asked Meenakshi.' said Mrs Chatterji. and Aparna is always so taxing and tedious before eleven. dear. Well. 'Yes.' 'I know.' Indeed. 'And please tell Tapan he should go to bed at once. Sunny Park is almost within walking distance of the house. 'Unless he hasn't eaten. Meenakshi. of course. I think I'll get another.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . the young man was virtually naked: dressed merely in a standard white shirt and white trousers with a regular striped tie.' said Mr Justice Chatterji. he shouldn't go to bed at once. And who's that young man who's glowering at Hans and Kakoli ? He's not even wearing a bow-tie. dear.' said Mrs Chatterji. Mr Kohli. bewildered. Meenakshi.well.' said Mrs Chatterji. Mr Justice Chatterji said. Now I think I'll go and say hello to Hans. there you are.' 'Do you know. Mago. 'that your mother and I were arguing with each other so convincingly one day last week that the next day by breakfast we had convinced ourselves of each other's points of view and argued just as fiercely as before ?' 'What were you arguing about ?' said Meenakshi. 第 266 页 共 293 页 http://www. But your glass is empty. 543 anyway. If he hasn't eaten.' said Mr Justice Chatterji. now you know what I think.

Surely he won't set down his plate to seize my hand ?' 'You can never tell. everyone managed to shovel out a great many words. 'He couldn't be one of her closest friends. Meenakshi bumped into Amit. 'What does he do ?' 'I don't know. no. 'Oh.' said Meenakshi.' 'Yes.' 'Well.11 MEANWHILE Lata.or discovering occasional gems and imagining them to be baubles . 'Kakoli knows him very well. I'm going to meet Kuku's Kraut. I know. Dipankar ?you don't understand . the four purposes of 第 267 页 共 293 页 http://www. Halfway across the room. to a dense and voluble section of the crowd. 'He introduced himself to me as Krishnan. Somewhere there.' he said. 'Daddy warned me too.' 'I don't know. watch your hands when watching Hans.' said Amit darkly. He's one of her close friends. Sometimes a half-comprehensible English wave would rise. who was in the thickest part of the party.' 'Oh.the fundamental construct of Indian civilization is the Square the four stages of life. sometimes an incomprehensible Bengali one.' said Amit. 'By the way. 'I'm sure he is. 'Where's Luts? She was with you a few minutes ago. who had first coined the phrase when Kakoli's friends started springing up in profusion. Like magpies cackling over baubles . nodded.' Amit pointed in the direction of the piano. He's eating.' said Amit.' said Meenakshi.the excited guests chattered ! on. She knows the names of those. felt as if she was swimming in a sea of language. Despite the fact that they were shovelling in a great deal of food. She was quite amazed by the glitter and glory of it all. he says.en8848.' 'One of her closest friends ?' 'Oh no. it seems. But it's a safe moment.' said Meenakshi. 'Too delicious. no.Mr Justice Chatterji.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 .com. and repeated the question. 544 7.' said Meenakshi with decision.

' 'That's not Je reviens . He can't even recognize Chanel!' 'Then I said to Robi Babu: 揧 ou are like a God to us. duty. People are such dreadful liars.of our ancient civilization is of course the Trinity ?I don't mean the Christian trinity. Ever since their father's illness.com.Creation and Preservation and Destruction yes. What will happen to the economic order without discipline ? If Sir Asutosh were alive today what would he say ? Is this what Independence means ?' 545 'Montoo is looking so sweet.but you must try the luchis.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . no. of course . all that seems so crude somehow . water everywhere .I would never have said construct .all the difference in the world. no.en8848. that is the elemental paradigm of our civilization.that's Quelque-fleurs . Truly . but all that is handled by Personnel.' 'Oh.love. Well. liver ?from too much drink. please give me a name for 第 268 页 共 293 页 http://www. the swastika. quite a young man but so spiritual ?Creativity in an Age of Crisis ?you really must go next week : he will be talking about the Quest for Peace and Harmony ' 'Everyone said that if I went down to the Sundarbans I'd see scores of tigers. Dipankar . of course.but the Trinity as Process and Aspect . mind you. and final liberation .' 'They should be expelled . Not that my husband would know the difference. no other. of course. no. No. But Poltoo and Loltoo are looking a little under par. Water. Naturally it took a little straight talk for them to come into line again. and no other ' 'Ridiculous nonsense. that is the reason. I didn't even see a mosquito. They say it is .stiff exam or no stiff exam. I won't say there wasn't a payment to one or two of the most recalcitrant of them.even the four arms of our ancient symbol. you know ?well. is that a reason for snatching papers in the examination hall ? These are commerce students of Calcutta University. So I called the union leaders in and I read them the riot act.and nothing else at all.the elemental paradigm . it is the square and the square alone that is the fundamental construct of our spirituality ?you will only understand this when you are an old lady like me ' 'She keeps two cooks. wealth. the Trinity. so sadly abused of late ?yes.life . no. you must have everything in the right order ?that is the secret of Bengali food ' 'Such a good speaker at the Ramakrishna Mission the other day .that it is.

He looked around the room for her orange sari. and spied her near the Kakoli crowd. Duality The warp and weft of our ancient garment. no.he gesticulated elongatedly .' he said. as well as an old Marwari gentleman clad in a dhoti. the sari itself .yes.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 .en8848. I'll walk over with you and detach her.' Hans looked mystified.a single length of cloth which yet swathes our Indian womanhood . ?Of course it's a transport problem too. Dipankar. Somehow or other Mrs Rupa Mehra. and floated across to where Kakoli was standing. It looks like this' .the primeval texture of Indian philosophy is that of Duality ? yes. It was his friend Billy Irani.' 'Oh. the tension between Being and Non-being . They must be so proud of him. no.'and it is green. and ribbed. to Hans : 'Ever since the year 1933 I have been drinking the juice of bitter gourds. That is the reason why she is called Hemangini Actually. no. called karela. Our trade with East Pakistan has virtually come to a halt. The old gentleman. and they don't know what to do with them. His informant continued : 第 269 页 共 293 页 http://www.?and he consented. near Kuku's nest. Arun.com. you haven't got it at all . This was the third time someone had spoken to him with the sole intention of finding out where his wife was. So proud. the name was not to my liking. indubitably it is Duality alone that reigns over us here in our ancient land. 'There she is. one happy side-effect is that the price of mangoes has come down! The Maldah growers had a huge crop this year. She attached herself to Arun as if to a life-raft. Lata wondered for a second what her friend Malati would have made of all this. rather fussily. You know bitter gourd ? It is our famous Indian vegetable.' 'Hello. was saying. they can have one. If you want to meet her. Billy. Well. had infiltrated the crowd of bright young things. unconscious of the gilded youth surrounding him. but what could I do ?' 'If the mullahs want war.' 546 'I felt like crying when I read the poem.my child. just like the Bengal Famine.the warp and weft of the universe itself. where's Meenakshi ?' Lata turned around and saw Arun's rather displeased expression.

And I have no sugar problems. He felt lightheaded.' 7. Each seer will yield one jam jar of juice. fascinated. the gourd-proponent continued : 'Then every morning for my breakfast he will give me one sherry glass or liqueur glass . Mrs Rupa Mehra. he will make juice. said: 'Only the skin?' If this was true. My dermatology is also very good. diabetes need no longer interpose itself between her palate and her desires. resting his whisky precariously on the white cast-iron railing. 'Well. 'Only the skin. 'Yes ?' said Hans politely. isn't she ? I can never predict when sb/t's 揼 uvwi 1?tjT. Mrs Rupa Mehra was looking deeply interested.12 'ENJOYING yourself?' Jock Mackay asked Basil Cox as they wandered out onto the verandah. Bloody Marwari. The fragrance of gardenias wafted across the lawn. Sweetly oblivious of Arun's disapproval. -玏 ri \ Wd to come out to India. rather. Beauty of bitter gourd is only skin deep. The rest is a superfluity.' His eyes squinted in concentration.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 .of this juice. she was most 第 270 页 共 293 页 http://www. and from the skin only. and all bowel movements are very satisfactory.' 'Thanks ?she is. like I have said. Every day since 1933. 'What they do with the rest I do not care.' Kakoli had begun to giggle. almost as if he wanted to balance on the railings himself. 'First time I've seen you at the Chatterjis. Patricia's looking ravishing. Trust them to make a fool of themselves in front of foreigners.' said the man fastidiously.so much .' He made a dismissive gesture.nt IL -gCAvi ViTwt. tk yetti kwew. I can 547 eat sweetmeats without anxiety. mark you.com. Arun caught Meenakshi's eye and frowned.'Every week my servant takes a seer of bitter gourd. 'Yes. 'That makes me so interested. he was thinking.' As if to prove the point he bit into a gulab-jamun which was dripping with syrup. yes.' said Basil Cox.en8848.

I have to re-calculate things in my head. but I've got so used to it that I miss it when I'm back home on leave.' said Basil Cox. rather annoyed. 'it's the hawkcuckoo . well. And I find all these lakhs and crores and annas and pice quite confusing still. 'Well. ?But do you know the question that disconcerted me most of all when I first came here twenty years ago and saw all these beautiful. It certainly isn't a cuckoo and I rather wish it was. 'Well. 'By the end of the Raj they were so busy slitting each other's 第 271 页 共 293 页 http://www. Jock Mackay looked faintly amused.en8848. 'How do you fuck in a sari ?' Basil Cox made a sudden movement. where a few mellow golden globes lit up the underside of a huge laburnum tree covered with grape-like clusters of yellow flowers. She even. I've been here less than a year.' said Jock Mackay in an enigmatic manner. what I can't abide is the dreadful music Indian singers make ?awful wailing stuff. it is a cuckoo. I suppose I'll get used to it all with time.unwilling. though Of course. as a matter of fact.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . 'But you're enjoying it here. what's that bird for instance that was singing a moment ago . Twelve pence to the shilling and twenty shillings to the pound was infinitely more logical than four pice to the anna and sixteen annas to the rupee. 'did you find out?' 'Everyone makes his own discoveries sooner or later.pupuuuuuu-pu ! pu-puuuuu-pu ! higher and higher. * Disconcerting.' said Jock Mackay. The song of the birds I don't mind at all. There appeared to be a hut of sorts under the tree.or brainfever bird ?didn't you know that ? It's hard to believe.com. are you ?' 'I suppose so Puzzling sort of place. Basil.' he continued expansively. moving his thumb gently across his lower lip. elegantly dressed women ?' Jock Mackay cheerfully and confidingly jerked his head towards the drawing room.' 'What do you mean ?' 'Well. and his drink fell over into a flowerbed.' From the expression on Basil Cox's face it didn't look likely. 'But it's a charming country on the whole. looked out into the garden.

13 'DON'T think of anything serious before you are thirty. there doesn't seem to be any resentment .' 'You sound as if you hate the place. I'd never in a hundred years have guessed that Arun had a brother like that. 'But I wonder what people like the Chatterjis really think of us? After all. We still run things here commercially speaking. power-worshipping. but pukka enough. namedropping.well. self-praising. who had managed to free himself of his wife for a few minutes. when he retired. worried. he works with us . And dressed in crumpled pyjamas !' 'No. He had his glass in his hand. we're still quite a presence in Calcutta. you know Arun . if anything. now. I'd say: face-flattering.a phrenological marvel . as a matter of fact .quite the opposite.' 'Oh. 'I wouldn't be surprised if I decided to retire here.' young Tapan was being advised by the round Mr Kohli. he half closed his 第 272 页 共 293 页 http://www.' said Jock Mackay.' 7. law-mongering. renounced everything. but I've forgotten them. who. I often wonder what they're thinking ' 'Well. became a sadhu and was never heard of again.com.throats that they left ours unslit. 'Quite the contrary.' agreed Jock Mackay. Indian.' said Jock Mackay.glistened as he leaned over the bar . What people think or don't think is never very interesting.' He sipped his drink. of course.Arun Mehra. Lucky. looking over into the flowerbed. 'Horses. it is puzzling. I had dinner with their son-in-law the other day 549 yesterday. and looked like a large. But a charming people.' said Basil Cox after a while. 'I knew an old ICS chap.' said Basil Cox. all-knowing.en8848. roadhogging.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 .oh. And he was a married man with a couple of grown-up children.' 'Really ?' 'Really. almost disconsolate teddy-bear in a slow hurry . ?There were a few more items to my litany once. But should we go back in ? I see you've lost your drink. 'Well. his huge dome . back-biting.and suddenly his brother tumbles in. I shouldn't worry if I were you. drunk as a lord and singing away and reeking of some fearsome Shimsham fire-water . spittlehawking. of course.

and then go to bed at once. yes. Baby Sahib. coming up to them. 'Are you serious?' said Tapan. not Duality. 'On the other hand. don't take anything I say seriously. no.stay there. suddenly looking more than a little unhappy.' She 第 273 页 共 293 页 http://www.' suggested Mr Kohli. you know. How old are you ?' 'Thirteen .14 'OH. an ecumenical assimilation of all that pours into this great subcontinent of ours. He paused for a sip.' said the old servant Bahadur firmly to Tapan.' said the Grande Dame of Culture. that's my advice. But you have some years to go still.' he added.' he said.' said Mrs Chatterji. 'You mean things don't get any better ?' 'Oh. no . Dipankar.en8848. 'Memsahib says you must go to bed at once. a Oneness of Being. 'That's where they imagine themselves ever afterwards .' * 7.' continued Mr Kohli. slowly shaking her ancient and benevolent head from side to side in pitying condescension as she held him with her dully glittering eye. 'Tell Ma I'll go to bed when I'm thirty. Dipankar. 'that's not it at all.almost. no.the intrinsic essence of our being here in India is a Oneness. 'What's this you've been saying to Bahadur? You won't be allowed to stay up late if you behave like this. Tapan.' said Mr Kohli.always seventeen. oh dear me.' 'Good . no. 55?'People are stuck at seventeen. and always happy.' 'Go to bed at once. I could never have said Duality. 'take everything I say more seriously than what other adults say.com.heavily lidded eyes and half opened his small mouth after he had delivered himself of one of his bon mots. 'Now. Now pour Mr Kohli a drink. Not that they're happy when they're actually seventeen.' Tapan began laughing.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . dismissing Bahadur.

and blinking a little more than usual as a result. is the guiding principle of our existence. Kuku. for it was from the horizons of our soil that it rose like a vast sun to spread its light on the world of knowledge. while Kakoli winked at him. Kuku ?' he added desperately. here in our ancient land. he made the ideal captive listener for any purveyors of pabulum who happened to stray into the irreverent household. thought Kakoli : he was the only serious younger Chatterji.' 7. no. It is the Non-ness of things. correcting him a trifle sadly.gestured around the drawing room tolerantly. 'It's all about how Unity is the intrinsic essence of our being ' 'Oh.' She surveyed a gulab-jamun for a few seconds. but Zero. and she has to leave in ten minutes.' 'Yes. for in Nothing lies the secret of Everything. no. Nullity itself. 'Dipankar. And everyone in the family could go to him when they wanted unflippant advice. the cigarettes smouldering at the edges of ashtrays.for what is an essence if it is not intrinsic ? India is the land of the Zero. she's pining away without you. in one slow plump sweep the piano. not Unity. 'It is the Zero. Dipankar.' said Kakoli. That's what she liked about Dipankar. taking in.com. blinked rapidly. and Dipankar himself . that you must accept. no.she waved her arm around the drawing room once more. that is the guiding principle of our civilization. represented by the Mandala. the flowers in their huge cut-glass vases. and because he was such a 551 gentle.15 THE Chatterji Parliament (including Kakoli. I could never have used the term intrinsic essence . who normally found it difficult to wake up before ten) was assembled for breakfast the next day. two plates of gulab-jamuns. the bookcases. the circular nature of Time itself.en8848. Dipankar. All this' .'all this is Non-Being. accommodating soul.' said the Grande Dame. Dipankar. 第 274 页 共 293 页 http://www. no.' Dipankar nodded furiously. but still patiently : 'Not Unity. 'Hemangini wants to talk to you.' said Dipankar unhappily. the circle. and gulped his Scotch down.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . the glittering guests. 'Try to keep her here as long as you can ?we were just having this interesting discussion Why don't you join us. maternally. thanks. 'It is Unity that governs our souls.

Kakoli was deeply attached to the telephone.552All signs of the party had been cleared away. she used to improve her complexion. Kakoli had left instructions that she was to be woken up at seven. the old servant Bahadur. He had bounded around the garden in delight. Her pretty. It's seven o'clock. There was no response. There were fewer than ten thousand telephones in the whole of Calcutta. and after the trauma of last night merely wanted to reassure himself that the world and the objects in it were as they used to be.en8848. 'Wake up. 553 Amit said.like Dipankar . round face was covered with dried Lacto-calamine. Amit had therefore taken on the duty of waking his sister. Dipankar took all this calmly. Kuku. Often she would burble on for forty-five minutes on end and her father sometimes found it impossible to get through to his house from the High Court or the Calcutta Club. Cuddles had probably buried something there. the unimaginable had begun to appear to him almost reasonable. which. But she felt that he must have great strength of will.' Kakoli continued to sleep soundly. like papaya pulp. She was sleeping diagonally across the bed with her arm thrown across her eyes. He knocked gently on her door. and monopolized it shamelessly as she did the car. wake up.and do all these vigorous things on a horse she did not know. so a second phone would have been an unimaginable luxury. She had to make a phone call to Hans after he came back from his morning ride. had been told to sleep late. Light was streaming through the window onto Kakoli's bed. He opened the door.' Kakoli stirred slightly.com. He had also dug up a few plants in the vegetable garden that Dipankar took so much interest in.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . It was a sound 第 275 页 共 293 页 http://www. then said what sounded like 'choo-moo'. 'Kuku. Since it had been a late night. How he managed to wake up at five . Ever since Kakoli had had an extension installed in her room. who usually performed the difficult task of waking the unwilling Kuku and placating her with milk. and had disturbed Dipankar's meditations in the small hut that he had made for himself in a corner of the garden. Cuddles had been unleashed upon the world. however.

' 'How many glasses ?' 'A glass of milk.' said Kakoli. 'Milk. She was treating Cuddles to a stream of Chatterji chatter. you know.' 'Ungh.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . 'Oh you vastly ghastly mostly beastly beastie. Kakoli bestirred herself enough to say: 'Take a lesson from Bahadur. 揔 uku Baby. 'oh you beastly beastie .?for twenty minutes while you do your 揷 hoomoo?' 'Ungh.of complaint. however.' she was saying. Wake people up nicely. After about five minutes of trying to get her to wake up.' said Amit 554 irritably. 'Kuku Baby. Kuku.' Amit said. and being rewarded with nothing but 'choo-moo'. wake up. with the telephone receiver in one hand and Cuddles tucked under the other arm. 'Otherwise you'll just roll over and go back to sleep. He has probably had to stand around your bed ten thousand times murmuring. 'Open your eyes at least.' After a pause he added. 'Oh you beastie.en8848. 'I don't have the practice. beastly beastie. first by gentle words and then by a gentle shake or two of the shoulders. 'I have other things to do than wait on you.' said Amit. wake up. 'Do shut up. Baby Memsahib. 'Do you want your teddy-bear ? Your telephone ? A glass of milk ?' said Amit.' Amit went off to fetch her a glass of milk.' She paid no attention to Amit.' said Kakoli irritably.' 'All right.oh you ghastly.' 第 276 页 共 293 页 http://www. When he returned he found that she was sitting on the bed. and take your milk.' She stroked his head with the telephone receiver. She opened both her eyes a fraction.com. Amit threw a pillow rather ungently over her head.

' 第 277 页 共 293 页 http://www. Cuddles did not comply. 'Go bite Amit. Madam ?' 'Yes. Slowly his mouth opened in shock and agony.' 'That's because my poetry is so sensitive.' she informed him.' 'Yes what ?' 'Yes. 'What there was to spoil. Madam?' 'Yes. 'Will that be all. I reeeeeeally pity him. 'Do go away.This remark struck Kakoli with novel force.' said Amit. was that my future brother-in-law you were going to call ? The nutcracker ?' 'The nutcracker ?' Amit held out his right hand as if shaking it with an invisible man.en8848.' 'And I pity the man who marries you. 'You are a horrible.' Kakoli surveyed Amit severely. 'Or do you want me to drink it for you as well ?' added Amit gratuitously.' Kakoli ignored the sarcasm.' 'I was going to ask for a good-morning kiss.com. 'Shall I set it down here. do. 'I pity the girl who marries you. I reeeeeally pity her. 'I don't know why women swoooooon over your poetry. you've spoilt my mood completely. 'When I say anything about the women you're interested in you get very peeved. By the way.' Kakoli instructed Cuddles. Amit.' said Amit.' said Kakoli. thank you. insensitive person. She was well-practised in the art of being helpless when there were helpful people around.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . but that Lacto-calamine looks so disgusting I think I'll defer it.

'Are you calling me a lunatic ?' asked Kakoli. Please pass me the butter.' said Tapan. He didn't like to talk more than was necessary.' said Amit.com. succeeding in being both sarcastic and placatory. they would probably have disliked them less. Kuku. Though small in size. 'I need the car today. He inspired respect in court and a sort of obedience even in his eccentric family. of course not. 'Anyone who likes mixed fruit jam is a lunatic.' 'You can reach for it yourself. 'I can't. now. 'My hand's been crushed. Some people thought the Chatterjis obnoxious because they appeared to enjoy each others' company even more than the company of others. Kakoli gave him a black look. I'm just going. See you at breakfast. 'Now. 'I have to go out. It was an intelligent family where everyone thought of everyone else as an idiot.' Tapan laughed.'Like who ? Jane Austen ?' 'May I make my phone call in peace and privacy ?' 'Yes. 第 278 页 共 293 页 http://www. I need it for the whole day.en8848. then began to look glum in preparation for a request.' 555 7.' said Amit. Mr Justice Chatterji sat at the head of the table. But if they had dropped by at the Chatterjis for breakfast and seen them bickering.' said Kuku after a few seconds. he was a man of some dignity.' protested Amit. 'No.' 'But Baba. and fairly absent-minded. yes. Baba. shortsighted. 'I'm just going.' said Kuku.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . Kuku Baby.' said Mrs Chatterji. Kuku.' 'I really must go to Hamilton's this morning to get the silver inkstand back. I'm working from general principles. 'I'm spending the day with Pankaj.' murmured Mrs Chatterji.16 THE Chatterji family at breakfast presented a scene of cordial conflict.

He wants to ask me about culture and literature.' 'You don't have any idea what I was thinking of.' said Amit. 'Don't worry. 'No bid. 'We look before and after. 'everything will come out all right in the end.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . Dipankar. 'You be quiet.' said Mrs Chatterji comfortingly. 'Glamdip ? Glamdip ? Have I missed something ?' asked their father. 'A glamorous diplomat. very charming. he's just a glamdip. for he hero-worshipped Amit. and pine for what is -' 'NOT!' 556 'Our sincerest laughter with some pain is -' TROT!' 'Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest -' 'THOT !' cried Tapan jubilantly. who also declined transport. Mrs Chatterji looked equally mystified. The kind of person whom Meenakshi used to sigh after. 'Amit?' he asked. 'He seemed a nice enough chap.' said Tapan. darling ?' she asked Amit. darling. 'Yes. 'Oh no.' 第 279 页 共 293 页 http://www. what is a glamdip.' said Kakoli.' replied Amit.' countered Amit. 'Very vacant.' countered Kakoli. ?'You mean who. you amoeba.en8848. one of them is coming around to visit me this morning. wondered aloud why Kuku was looking so wistful. And talking of which.' ventured Dipankar. Kuku frowned. Amit and Tapan promptly began an antiphonal chant.Mr Justice Chatterji raised his eyebrows.com.

'But then I must make sure that everything is in order -' she said.' laughed Tapan. that's enough.' said Mr Justice Chatterji before his wife could intervene.' said Kakoli suddenly. 'And you told Biswas Babu you'd see him this morning.' This was one of Biswas Babu's adjectives of high praise. 'Who ?' 'Some South American ambassador . Let us be partless. 'You've hardly met him. 'He is so shinsheer.' agreed Kuku.' agreed Amit.com. Amit ?' asked Mrs Chatterji eagerly. 'Stop it!' cried Kuku. I got a phone call from Delhi a week or two ago. 'with an interest in the arts. 'Now.' Mrs Chatterji looked flustered. Hold my hand. 'Like the way Amit was mooning over Lata last night.'Really.' 'O my darling. tempting retribution.' continued Tapan.' 'So I did. 'Over Lata ?' repeated Kuku. don't be heartless. Or was it Bolivia ? He wanted to meet an author on his visit to Calcutta.' 'Over Lata ?' said Amit.' said Dipankar. I doubt he's read anything by me. so I did. 'No bloodshed at breakfast.' 'No. Amit.from Peru or Chile or somewhere.' said Amit.' 'Yes. 'You are all being utterly horrible. and we fixed it up. Let's talk about something else.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . he is a good boy for our Kuku. imitating him. He does have a good heart. genuinely astonished. Tapan grinned delightedly. 第 280 页 共 293 页 http://www. Kuku felt that Tapan should have his ears boxed.' said Tapan. 'But don't hold it too hard. 'Wedding bell ? Or bedding well ?' asked Amit.' 'He is not just a glamdip.' 'He is good wedding bell material for our Kuku. 557 'I like Hans.en8848. 'And so I will. 'He was very polite to the man who told him to drink the juice of bitter gourds.' murmured Amit.

' Amit could not resist delivering a Kakoli-couplet : 'What is Krishnan in the end ? Just a mushroom. Tapan. Mrs Chatterji said nothing.'Really.' Amit frowned. Drinking beer and going piddly !' 第 281 页 共 293 页 http://www.' 'So we needn't invite her over unnecessarily while she's in Calcutta. south Indian. Kuku. spreading her butter with more than usual concentration. but had begun to look anxious.en8848.' said Kuku. 'Yes. Kuku.' she said.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 .' said Amit. 'I suppose he's annoyed with me. invited fifty-odd people to the party last night. Who is that fellow Krishnan? Dark chap.' 'She's just a nice girl.' 'Oh. 'If Meenakshi hadn't been so busy gossiping and Arun making contacts I wouldn't have assumed any responsibility for her at all.' said Amit. Kuku. Til invite whoever I like over. 'You. from the safety of the other side of the table. I imagine. made a face at her. he's just a friend. I'm sure you didn't.' 'Fifty odd people.' 'No.' murmured Kuku.' Tapan couldn't resist saying. 'I didn't notice I was spending any time with her at all. just a friend.' said Amit. that's all. 'Little boys shouldn't interrupt adult conversations.com. 'Some of them were very odd. love has destroyed your brain. but usually she was sluggish till noon. Once Kuku had actually got so incensed 558 she had chased him around the table.' Tapan continued : 'Always eating dosa-iddly. He was glaring at you and your Second Secretary very resentfully. Kuku turned on him severely.

'Do some serious work.' 'Yes. it's like going back to school.' 'But Amit has a special gift.' said Mr Justice Chatterji.' said Amit. 'A joke's a joke. Meenakshi and Kuku. 'But it's not a living. thinking it unfair that he should have been singled out. 'I don't quite see how you come to that conclusion.' protested Tapan. had completely corrupted her baby with their stupid rhyming. he thought. 第 282 页 共 293 页 http://www. Amit. seeing the tables turning. And it was a pretty good couplet too.until you're raised to the bench and people say it to you instead.' said Amit.' 'What's wrong with writing poems and novels?' asked Amit. Tapan. Amit Da.' 'Well. Amit.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 .'Tapan!' gasped his mother.' said his father dryly.' said his father.' he said. And you get holidays.which is just as bad . Amit. and you get good chits and bad chits just like Tapan does: I mean judgments in your favour and against you.' said Mr Justice Chatterji. Just because I'm the youngest. 'But Baba. And what's wrong with the law?' 559 '揥 ell.' broke in Mrs Chatterji.' added Kuku happily. it appeared. I was only joking. 'And you too. 'Aren't you proud of him ?' 'He can practise his special gifts in his spare time. but enough's enough. 'you have to be properly dressed that's like school uniform.en8848. And instead of saying 揝 ir?you say 揗 y Lord?. You'd have a better claim to criticizing others if you did something useful yourself. 'Well. Mr Justice Chatterji put down his toast. not entirely pleased by the analogy.com. that's right.' said her husband. 'it was good enough for your grandfather and for me. 'That's enough from you. 'Or has passion made you illiterate as well ?' 'It's all right as an amusement. Act like a useful member of society before you criticize others.

' said Amit. 'We idolize him more than the English do Shakespeare. 560 'I'd hardly say so. The Griffonling from birth 'V^ Is indisposed to mirth. incensed. When I was in Shantiniketan. Mrs Chatterji had entered a mode of righteous reverence. really .' said Amit.'Is that what they said to Rabindranath Tagore?' asked Amit. looking at his eldest son in surprise.' said Kakoli. I shall write my own: The Sketches of Cuddles the Dog. Robi Babu is like a saint.' she cried.? Oh. Ma. 揘 ot on earth. you are a really shameless girl. We in Bengal owe everything to him. Mrs Chatterji broke in. 'Abol Tabol is the only good book in the whole of Bengali literature. 'how can you think of Gurudeb like that ?' 'Mago. and I like The Sketches of Hutom the Owl. 'I'm sure you'll admit there's a difference between you and Tagore.we've heard enough about Shantiniketan and how idyllic it is. 'But what's the relevance of the difference to the point I'm making?' But at the mention of Tagore.his poems come to our hearts -' 'Actually.com. yes. To laugh or grin he counts a sin And shudders.' 'Kuku. I didn't say -' began Amit. I remember he once said to me ' But now Kakoli joined forces with Amit.' said his father. Amit. hardly hearing her. 'Please 第 283 页 共 293 页 http://www. I know that if I had to live there I'd commit suicide every day.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . 'I'll admit there's a difference.' said Mrs Chatterji.en8848. And when I take up literature. 'Please.' continued her mother.' 'And with good reason. 'Amit. 'His songs come to our lips . Mago.' cried Mrs Chatterji. 'Amit.' 'His voice is like a cry in the wilderness. Baba.

' continued Kakoli. Stillness was very far from her.' said Dipankar. 'I can't stop her from holding opinions. he's such a bore!' 'Stop ! Stop it at once ! Kakoli. I've always thought so.I think that the more people write. such a bore. he's su-uch a bore. almost from birth. Til see about the car. O. 'why do you let them get to you ? You should take the best in the words and mould them to your own spirit. Such a.' 'lia Chattopadhyay is a very ignorant girl. he's such a bore ! O. Flowers and moonlight and nuptial beds?' 'Ma. O. you can attain stillness. Tapan. 'Of course. 'May I get up ? I've finished my breakfast.' 'It's just an opinion.stop her from saying these things. You should 561 hear lia Chattopadhyay on your Robi Babu. he's such a. now warbled out to the tune of a truncated 'Shonkochero bihvalata nijere apoman' : 'Robi Babu.' 'Really.' said his father.en8848. he's such a bore.' said Tapan. Tagore. Ma.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 .' 'But about Gurudeb. R. with Rabindrasangeet. Such a. Tagore. O. 'As for her books . do you hear me ?' cried Mrs Chatterji.com. Tagore. dear. Robi Babu. O.about Robi Babu -' Kakoli. 'Stop it! How dare you! You stupid. he's such a bore! Robi Babu.' burst out Mrs Chatterji. 'reading him is like trying to swim breaststroke through treacle. R. O. shameless. And she was dressed in a completely crushed sari last night. shallow girl. That way.' said Mr Justice Chatterji. whose songs she sings . who had been force-fed. R. O.' 第 284 页 共 293 页 http://www. such a bore. appalled. he's such a.' Mrs Chatterji was unsoothed. the less they think.

She was advising Dipankar yesterday that there was no future in economics.' said Amit. Fifty-five was hardly elderly. Kuku?' 'It's for Kuku. hunh.' Mrs Chatterji glanced with annoyance at her husband. 第 285 页 共 293 页 http://www. Who's it from ?' asked Kuku.it was quite traumatic . 'Oh. When she was twelve she came second in an exam.' 'She always appears to know. dear. 'She's quite an elderly woman .' she added irrelevantly. she's from your father's side of the family.' said her husband.' said Mrs Chatterji. 'I don't know.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 .'She's hardly a girl any more.' said Amit.' said Mrs Chatterji in a rare rebuke.' 'I suppose you can tell from the kind of ring. and poked her tongue out at Amit. 'Well. 'After a life so full of tragedy anyone would become hard.' said Amit.' added Amit.' 'What tragedy ?' asked Mrs Chatterji.' 'You can't blame her. but she was overwrought. 56z The phone rang.and then things went on in that vein. 'And one should heed her opinions. 'It's not. 'She's quite hard-headed.must be at least fifty-five.' 'Where did you get such mad children ?' Mrs Chatterji asked her husband.en8848. 'Ten to one it's for Kuku.com. ?It hardens you. 'Anyway. they wouldn't have turned out this way. She appeared to know.' he replied. 'And if she doesn't appreciate Gurudeb sine must \\ave a heart o?stone. when she was four.' cried Tapan from the door. 'If you had spent more time with them instead of going to the club every day. 'her mother slapped her .

' 'I know. Amit was told that he might be a little later still. 'That's because they don't know you. Amit was informed by telephone that he would be 'a little late'. what can I do?' 'Yes. I'd better get ready for His Excellency. Excuse me. I'll call back later. 'Lots of people love me.en8848.' added Amit.' said Amit. Dipankar ?' 'Yes.com. Dada. Tapan. About half an hour after he was due to arrive. That would be fine. 'I won't contest that point. and so did Dipankar . 5^3 7. 'be a sweet boy and make some excuse.' said Kuku.'Krishnan. stung to fierceness.' Mrs Chatterji was shocked into exclaiming: 'But.' said Kuku. This annoyed him somewhat. 'Has the Ambassador arrived in Calcutta ?' he asked 第 286 页 共 293 页 http://www. 'And all my fans love me. as he could have done some writing in the meantime. Kuku. Ma. that's a barefaced lie. and Mr Justice Chatterji settled the use of the car between the two main claimants.' said Kuku. 'Shall I tell him you're having a bath ? Or sleeping ? Or out in the car ? Or all three ?' Tapan grinned. 'but he's so tedious.' said Kakoli. say I've gone out. who thought it best to be simply factual.' said Dipankar. said Amit.17 ABOUT fifteen minutes after the Ambassador was due to arrive at the house for their one hour talk.' said Amit. 'and. 'Please.' Amit got up to go. looking mournful. while keeping Tapan's interests in mind as well. talking of unseen fans.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . Yes. 'don't you. what can one do when one has a hundred best friends ?' muttered Amit.' 'Tell him I can't come to the phone. 'Just because nobody loves you -' cried Kuku.

or it would perhaps not be unfair to say (yes. Senor Bernardo Lopez arrived at the door in a great black car.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . forgive me. with us it is not permanent. yes. unlike you writers who ?but anyway.en8848. as you know. But he swallowed his irritation. I 564 ! might even say. all slowly weighed.by which I mean rather. He should be there in the next five minutes. which is to say. he was irritated.though you must of course tell me if I am imposing myself on you) but I asked my secretary to inform you 第 287 页 共 293 页 http://www. He was extremely apologetic and full of cultural goodwill . there is an element of. that is better put. if I may make so bold. He came with a lively young woman whose first name was Anna-Maria. being Ambassador and so on. he attempted to come straight to the point : 'Well. at his own flexed or drumming fingers. at Anna-Maria (to whom he nodded reassuringly). He pronounced Very' with a 'b'. she on the other hand was brisk and energetic and extracted a pocketbook from her handbag the moment they sat down. Fifteen minutes later. in our stay in a particular place. partly because I set out very tardily (I came here directly from a friend's home here in this remarkable city. 'He arrived yesterday afternoon. and muttered something polite. to which I hope you will come some time when you are more at leisure . which I have been for about a year now .the man on the phone. He is just running a little late. the Ambassador looked everywhere but at Amit: he looked at his teacup. or indeed definite .' Since Biswas Babu was due to arrive soon and Amit did not want to keep the family's old clerk waiting.or to Delhi needlessly . if I might be allowed to praise myself for a locution in another language) that there is an element of arbitrariness in it. Mr Amit Chatterji. During the flow of his ponderous and gentle words. and conscious of the fact that he was an inexcusable fortyfive minutes late. and at a globe in a corner of the room. needless to say. But he left for your house ten minutes ago. to our own home . Caressing his pointed bald head nervously and gravely. but as you know I have arrived here forty-five minutes in tardiness and have taken up forty-five minutes of your good time (of your good self.com. what I meant was that I would like to put to you one question directly. 'Oh. From time to time he would smile. I am often called upon in my official duties. Mr Chatterji.unfortunately. deliberated and qualified before they could be expressed. I mean .' said the voice. as I notice some say here).

yes ?). I am going to Palashnagar tomorrow. terrified that he might have to face more of this. 'But we still have five minutes. ask you about).that we find in Indian poetry.' said Amit. the great Tagore unexcluded? But let me say in qualification that by 搘 e?I mean merely we of the West. T?鵙/ -wtitTi \ came Vitit 玭 t -yeai ago \ Viad a sense -' 第 288 页 共 293 页 http://www. so let me ask simply this. and of course by Indian poetry.' 565 'Tomorrow then ?' asked Anna-Maria. or rather. can you enlighten me ? Us ?' 'I will try. I mean such poetry as has been made accessible to us. or can we perhaps exceed ?yes ? Do I make myself clear ?' Amit.' said Bernardo Lopez. no. not that you are official. because the streets are almost parallel and close to each other. a busy man: do you have any appointment after this hour that you have allotted me. and indeed forty-five. but partly because our driver led us to Hazra Road. said hastily : 'Alas. very natural mistake.com.I speak as an appreciator of not just the architecture but the way you have preserved its atmosphere. 'A pity. I understand. I have to ask you as I ask other officials who have schedules to keep. forgive me. but. a pity. a long puzzlement to me: What is all this about 揵 eing?and birds and boats and the river of life . which is to say. where we met a gentleman who was kind enough to redirect us to this beautiful house . what I must now ask you as I have asked others in the course of my official duties. well. its perhaps ingenuity.en8848. well. who had put down her notebook. 'The unanswerables are not unanswerable in the lands of the East. no. it makes one marvel the more. ingenuousness. He reflected that this was no more than the truth. even virginity .' said Amit. alas. but I have a pressing engagement in fifteen minutes. and when it is true of a whole nation.but as I said I am (to come to the point) late. 'No. although this is by no means an official duty but one entirely of pleasure (though I indeed do have something to ask of you. Felix qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas. naming the fictitious town in which his novel was set. with an old colleague of my father's. if the South may be subsumed in the West. In that light. and by 揻 ind?I mean that which is as if to say that Columbus found America which we know needed no finding. Your Excellency will forgive me. 'You see?' said Bernardo Lopez with mild triumph to Anna-Maria.of that (I hope he did. such as has been traduced by translation. a.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . for there were those there for whom 揻 inding?would be more insulting than superfluous. five minutes now.

yet 566 is that in truth an upward movement? Will time even tell us that ? Does time tell us anything at all ? . crossed his field of vision.ever since Amit had returned from England 'laden with laurels' as he put it on speaking to him almost exclusively in English.' 'Yes. But I shall give earnest thought to what you have said. whom everyone treated with great affection and respect. as he normally did.en8848. He had a headache. Amit stood on the porch step waving slowly. 'Forgive me. which have led me upwards from nescience to science . though young here is merely to say that the earth has gone around the sun less often since your inception.com.such I will cherish. 'it appears as though my father's colleague has arrived. Your Excellency. Amit had always been Biswas Babu's favourite. and Amit felt that his father's old clerk.18 WHAT made matters slightly uncomfortable was that though Amit's Bengali was fine and Biswas Babu's spoken English was not. Its intensity. and informed Amit that Biswas Babu was waiting for him in his father's study. But Biswas Babu had come specially to see him. For the others. should not be required to sit and cool his heels longer than necessary .cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . we are indebted. Though the fluffy white cat Pillow. no longer running behind time. and he deserved a special effort.But Bahadur now entered.' said Amit. the urgings I have felt during this brief interview. Biswas Babu was dressed in a coat and dhoti. 7. young man. led on a leash by his grandfather's servant. he had insisted . shake his knees.' said Anna-Maria. As the great black car spirited them away. picking up her notebook. Amit did not follow it with his eyes. Though it was summer. And I am deeply honoured and grateful. probably to make him see sense and take up the law again. and consider it 搃 n vacant or in pensive mood? as the Poet of the Lake has chosen to express it. getting up. this privilege was only occasional . er.' 'And I. and was in no mood to talk to anyone. I too will bear in mind the result of this confabulation. than mine (and is that to say anything at all?).or rather. which was a habit with him. conception. He had an 第 289 页 共 293 页 http://www.

Amit sat down at his father's large mahogany desk. and my father. There was clearly something weighing on his mind but he was reluctant to bring it up. but I haven't. 'You see.' said Amit.umbrella with him and a black bag. leaning forward. After the usual questions about how everyone was doing and whether either could perform any service for the other. Biswas Babu. now you must follow it. which he was stirring thoughtfully while looking around at the room in which he had worked for so many years . that you have come to talk to me ?' he said. 'So it is about this. the conversation petered out. I know you feel I have let the family down. When Amit entered. 'You have?' said Biswas Babu. and sowing oats. That is why I have come. After respectful greetings to Biswas Babu. it is just late.' It suddenly struck Amit that Biswas Babu was talking not about the law but about marriage.en8848. I have an idea of what has brought you here. I know you are disappointed in me. 第 290 页 共 293 页 http://www. 'Now. Biswas Babu then helped himself to a small amount of snuff. He began to laugh.com. Biswas Babu was 567 sitting on the other side of it. And you probably think it is very peculiar.' 'Yes ?' said Biswas Babu.' 'It is not peculiar. 'But Meenakshi has rolled the ball.' 'Sowing oats ?' Amit was puzzled. But you are probably making hail while the sun shines. and looking rather guilty. startled. His knees started vibrating rapidly in and out. Bahadur had given him a cup of tea. Biswas Babu.both for Amit's father and for his grandfather.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . 'But I have to tell you that I don't think that even your advocacy is going to work.' 'No ?' said Biswas Babu. my grandfather went in for it. Biswas Babu. 'You see. he stood up. He placed a bit in each nostril and sniffed.

twenty-nine or more .and are still issueless.'And you are speaking to me about the matter.' said Biswas Babu.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . and stopped.' 'Sorry to say.' But Biswas Babu was not to be distracted from his purpose. despite his headache. she had tinted reputation. Biswas Babu ?' asked Amit obligingly. 'Don't believe it. 'You are so old . were able to renounce such yearnings. Biswas Babu. 'In my heart-deep opinion -' he began. and a girl at that. you made your objections known to my father. and he passed them on to me. Unless you are above such thoughts ' Amit confessed that he wasn't.' he said. Enquiries were necessary. 'I did not want trouble for you. They are so proud of your achievement. was smiling. 568 Now you can decide where to place yourself. 'What do you advise me to do.' Obviously a non-Chatterji like Aparna.en8848. so that Amit could encourage him to continue.' 'I also spoke to your father. But that was one year ago. said Biswas Babu.' said Amit. He shook his head and pursed his lips in disagreement. Very few were.' 'But Meenakshi has given them Aparna. He told Amit : 'Man without life companion is either god or beast. That made it all the more imperative that Amit should continue the family line.' 第 291 页 共 293 页 http://www. Perhaps only people like Dipankar. 'When my parents were keen that I should meet that girl Shormishtha. 'I was thinking about you three days ago. Biswas Babu was not offended. did not count for much in Biswas Babu's eyes.com. How can you give joy to your parents ? You owe to them. Even Mrs Biswas agrees. This conversation was proving more difficult than he had imagined it would. and where is the progress ?' Amit. frowning at the corner of the desk. with his spiritual leanings. not to my father. 'It is all Scotch and sannyaas with Dipankar.

en8848.' continued Biswas Babu. He seemed a little embarrassed.' Amit looked startled.' 'Yes.com. Biswas Babu had never talked in this vein to him before. as if admonishing Amit in a muted way. 'Indeed. Now maybe about law you know best.' 第 292 页 共 293 页 http://www. It is hard to restrain. 'Of course it is dangerous business but any lady who 569 cohabits with more than one man increases risks. Amit did not know what to say. any lady who has the opportunity to go to second man will know no limits. 'that is not true in all cases. 'Of course.' said Amit.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 . glancing in a melancholy way at the rows of law-books around him. 'though not admitted in our Hindu society. as he had not got Biswas Babu's drift.' After a pause Biswas Babu went on.' echoed Amit. 'A slight headache.' 'I am not sure I understand. That way they are commenstruate. 'Nothing serious. So that lady can cool down with man. that is the solution. concerned. It is but natural.'And so you made them. Amit Babu. lady is more excited than man as a rule. Do you have headache?' he asked. but the consciousness of his duty as an adviser to the family kept him going. That is why there should not be too much difference.' he ruminated. 'difference in age of course.' 'Mischief. I will have to say. and then there is danger.' 'An arranged marriage with a sober girl. Otherwise of course an older man is cool in later years when his wife is in the prime of lusty life and there is scope for mischief. 'In fact. 'I mean. for Amit looked as if he was in pain.' he added. But you must not leave it till you are more than thirty. But I know about early life and youth. even sadly.' thought Biswas Babu aloud. And I will also think about a helpmeet for Dipankar.' Biswas Babu remarked gravely.

en8848. what people say. and what people do are two different things. 'Now I and Mrs Biswas are happily married for thirty-four years. Certainly.com.' said Biswas Babu. 'Nowadays people say that you should choose your own life-partner. Where is the harm in an arrangement like that? Nobody asked me.' 'What people think. Amit broke the silence. One day my father said it is fixed.They were both quiet for a minute.' 'But if I find someone myself -' 第 293 页 共 293 页 http://www. poets like myself say that. Biswas Babu.cn/ 原版英语阅读网 .

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